June 23rd, 2018

New year a book of blank pages

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on January 4, 2017.

As the end of another year approaches, the question of whether 2016 was a good year or a bad year will produce different responses depending on individual perspectives.

But there’s no denying it was an interesting year.

Donald Trump’s headline-grabbing ride, first to the Republican presidential nomination and then to the presidency of the world’s most powerful nation, has to qualify as the year’s major event, even for non-Americans. The new president-elect’s accomplishment is sure to have a profound effect on the year to come as well.

Closer to home, the devastating fire that forced 88,000 residents from their homes in Fort McMurray was the big news. Dubbed “the beast,” the wildfire topped the annual Canadian Press survey as Canada’s top news story of 2016.

The past year included many other attention-getting news events, including several terrorist attacks which, unfortunately, have become far too frequent in our modern world. The year also featured the ongoing conflict in Syria; a host of shootings in the U.S. in which police were either the shooters or the targets; and Europe’s migrant crisis, to name a few.

In Canada, the passing of assisted-dying legislation; plans for a controversial carbon tax; and the Liberals’ “cash for access” scandal were just a few of the year’s other top stories.

A number of prominent celebrities died in 2016 as well, among them musicians David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince and Merle Haggard, actors Gene Wilder, George Kennedy, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher and, one day later, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, and sports legends Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe and Arnold Palmer.

Like any other year, 2017 will bring a mix of good and bad

What 2017 will bring is anybody’s guess, but one thing we can be sure of is that, like any other year, it will feature a mix of good and bad. As the new year dawns, we are better served if we focus on the good rather than worry about the bad. As American columnist and author Bill Vaughn once noted, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

One thing to be appreciated about the start of a new year is that it gives us a blank canvas, just as each dawn brings a new day. In essence, each year consists of a series of new days — 365 of them, in fact, and each one a blank page yet to be written.

In the words of 20th-century American poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce: “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

Happy New Year!

— Lethbridge Herald

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