In 2015 my family dealt with both great joy and great loss. Through the joy of our daughter’s first birthday party, our first family vacation and the fulfillment of a promise we made to ourselves to return to Arches National Park, we were also reminded of how fragile life is.
On both sides of our family, there were multiple scares with cancer, in either diagnoses, recurrences or long term treatments. In two of those instances, we experienced great losses. In September, we lost my step-father less than three months after his diagnosis with stage 4, small cell lung cancer. And on New Year’s Eve, we lost my grandpa to lung cancer after only a couple of months. I miss them both and cherish the time that we had together.
Though these losses have been difficult to deal with, they are a part of life. Many people hope for the perfect life, with no struggle or suffering. But, without life’s hard times, we would have a lack of perspective on how good the good times can be. 2015 was a year chocked full of perspective for me, from family and friends, to work, to the great outdoors and our purpose in life.
Awhile ago I wrote about searching for passion. Over the last couple of months and much more so during the last two weeks, I’ve been focusing more on that search and trying to figure out how to reconcile dreams and desires with economics. I know there’s a way to do it, and I feel that I’m getting closer. While I don’t imagine that I will fully realize my dreams within the next couple of years, I am going to be making better use of my time to put in the effort to get them off the ground.
2015 was the year of perspective and introspection for me. 2016 is going to be a year of learning, planning and personal growth. It’s time to stop just having ideas and doing nothing with them. I’m going to start writing them down and when they’re complete enough, I hope to share them here. With any luck, you, my wonderful readers will be kind enough to share your thoughts and insights on what I hope will be writing that you feel is not only worth reading, but worth sharing. Together, I know we can improve the quality of my writing and hopefully keep it interesting and useful enough to keep you all coming back.
If you’ve been following me for very long, you’re probably aware that I spend a lot of time in my car, about twelve hours a week with my regular commute. Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of that time listening to local public radio. At first it was because I was burnt out on just about everything being played on the radio and then it got me to thinking about all of the things I knew a little about, but not a lot. It helped me think about the events going on in the world a little more.
So, with a little more knowledge and what I feel is a lot more awareness, I have resolved to give more to the causes that resonate with me. Initially, much of this will be through donations, but I hope that as I learn more, build my confidence and manage to squeeze some time out of my schedule, that there will be other actions to support those causes as well. I have always felt that I am a person who cares about the world, but through this introspective period, I have come to accept that my actions have not always reflected it.
It’s always a challenge when looking at all of the great causes out there that need support. From the complex political issues to the simple local fundraisers, there are many that deserve support. But, it is impossible to support them all, not just because some of them conflict with each other but because of the multitude of them. I haven’t decided on all of the specific organizations to which I’d like to give, but I’d like to start with some in areas where I feel my passion is pulling me toward.
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and I’ve always tried to respect nature. So, with the climate issues that society is trying to confront and the true joy I have experienced at our national parks, I hope to identify at least a couple of organizations that I can help who’s focus is on conservation and the environment. I am hopeful that starting small allows me to learn, but also not to set myself up for failure by having expectations that are too lofty.
While I’ve never been one to spend much effort engaging in political debate, I think we can all recognize that the politics as well as economics of many places around the world are having a profound effect on many people who are struggling to survive on a daily basis. So, I’d like to find a couple of organizations to support that are focused on those in need, whether homeless, stateless or impoverished, I know there are good people doing great things to help those who need it most. I wish I could give to everyone, and I hope to help more over time, so this is where I am going to start.
If there are organizations that you feel would align well with what I’m hoping to support, please let me know. I promise to research every one that is suggested while trying to make my decisions. While I have a few in mind already, I’m sure there are others worth considering that I may have overlooked. I hope to have things largely set up by the end of January and share what I’m learning and the groups which I’ve selected in future posts.
A few other things that I hope to improve upon this year, reading more (real books, not Facebook), writing more, taking a more deliberate approach to my photography and, perhaps most importantly, spending more quality time with my family.
While my resolutions may not be of any benefit to those selling treadmills, gym memberships or diet books, I am hopeful that they will make me a better person and with any luck make the world a little better place. Happy New Year!