2014: Make It Count

(This column appeared in the Jan. 7th issue of the Devils Lake Journal, published in my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota.)

I recently wrote an article about a lifelong resident of Brush who made a plethora of contributions to the community and also was a devoted family man. He was involved in just about every organization in Brush from the Chamber of Commerce to Rotary to the school and hospital boards and more. He was active in his church, serving, as his daughter said “in every possible capacity there.” He worked with the Colorado Historical Society to get historical designations for downtown buildings and money to restore them and formed the Brush Museum and Cultural Center. He raised three children and was involved in all of their activities. He and his wife traveled to each of the 50 states and throughout the world. When I interviewed his wife and two of his children they shared a letter he had written to his wife when he was serving in the Korean War. The deep love for his wife came pouring through in the letter and brought tears to my eyes.

As we embark on a new year learning about this incredible man’s life made me think about my own. Although I don’t make formal New Year’s resolutions I do use the approach of a new year as an opportunity to reflect where I am in my life, consider changes I might want to make and think about goals for the future. I don’t know that I could ever achieve what this man in Brush did, nor do I really have the desire, or energy, to do so. However I would like to make my mark on the world, be of service to others and also lead as fulfilling as life as I can. Here are 10 ways I hope to live my life in 2014 and beyond, in no particular order:

1) Laugh more – frown less.
2) More face time with friends and family – Facebook less.
3) Read more – TV less
4) Travel more – homebody less.
5) Volunteer more – me, me, me less
6) Write more – social media less
7) Clean more – bad feng shui less
8) Be positive more, whine less
9) Church more, not to church less
10) And, in the words of Ellen, be more kind to other people – judge less

I think if I can better abide by these ways of living, they also will lead me to achieve goals I have for myself, both personally and professionally and maybe also be a more valuable member of my community. Also, by putting them in writing for all who read this, I hope it will make me more accountable. I’ll review these from time to time and let you know how I’m doing.

Happy New Year!

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