Lessons learned and looking toward the future

The last year has been filled with ups and downs, both personally and professionally.

I suppose that’s something we all can say on some level.

As someone who doesn’t do well with change, there has been a lot with which to deal. Some of it has been good, some not so much.

It has been a year of goodbyes, people moving in other directions and many losses.

There have been numerous adjustments, changes in plans, lost opportunities.

At the same time, there have been new experiences, a couple of opportunities to relax and some lessons learned.

You can’t be afraid to tackle the obstacles put before you, for example. If you think it is something you can’t do on your own, there will be someone there to help.

Be willing to take that step into the unknown. It might just lead to some exciting new adventures.

Make certain the people who are important to you know it. Even if you don’t get to see them as often as you want, reach out when you can. Let them know you’re thinking of them.

Most importantly, it’s OK to be a little selfish, especially when it comes to your health and happiness.

Things aren’t always going to work out the way you want, but it’s better to be healthy and able to set new goals than to face the alternative.

You have to take time for yourself. While I’m all for taking care of your responsibilities, it also does no one any good to work non-stop and miss out on life.

That’s been my biggest challenge this year. As a result of various changes, new responsibilities have been presented to me, and I’ve, unfortunately, neglected certain aspects of my life while trying to keep on top of everything.

I had plans for some personal traveling this year, and had hoped to visit a friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years. I have a stack of books waiting to be read.

None of it got to happen.

It means figuring out some adjustments in 2018, and finding a better balance even if some don’t get exactly what they want.

But, along with working on those lessons and life corrections, it also is time to look forward to the new year.

A new year is considered as a time of hope for many. This year should be no different.

In 2017, we had one new manufacturing facility open in Weirton, with another beginning construction.

Unused sections of the former Weirton Steel plant began demolition, to eventually make room for other future development opportunities.

There have been several new “small” businesses open as well. Restaurants and retail, locally owned shops of various types have welcomed the community through their doors.

Every indication is that will continue for the next year, with various projects in the works.

I do occasionally pick up some bits of information which I’m not always able to immediately report on.

A couple of those are expected to happen this year, and it should be exciting for many of us.

Groups in the community also will continue their projects, with a goal of providing improvements and activities for area residents.

There are always going to be issues and complaints. Nothing will ever meet everyone’s expectations. However, things are starting to look brighter, if we are willing to look.

There are going to be obstacles, but working together they can be overcome.

I truly believe we are turning a corner in the Ohio Valley, and if we work toward our common goals and don’t let egos and personality conflicts get in the way, we will see some great things happening.

So, now we look toward that future.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves, and we then miss out on other opportunities.

Instead, I reflect on the year that was, think about the experiences and what I have learned because of them.

I look forward to what may come, what hopes I may have and think about what changes I can make.

Believe me, there are definitely changes I need to make, but they will take time.

We’re all works in progress, and we can all make a difference.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)