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In My Opinion
Switching Gears and Switching Years!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 • Posted December 31, 2013

Though one part of getting older is the amazement one feels with the rapid acceleration of the passage of time, that does not lessen the feeling one has of standing still while the rest of the world is racing by in a blur. The evolution of 2013 into 2014 is no exception.

I continually find myself issuing exclamations of surprise with each calendar event that occurs. I can't believe it's already Easter. It can't already be July 4th! Surely it can't be Labor Day already... Do you mean it's already Thanksgiving? Surely Christmas has not already arrived! And now, it starts all over again.

I'm not particularly fond of New Year's Eve as a holiday. It is one of those occasions that involves a great deal of expectation and heightened anticipation. And, all of it comes to a head at midnight,,, and then it's over. Since the calendar used by humans is an artificial construct, the change from one year to another is purely artificial. The Jewish calendar does not match the Julian calendar; but, instead, relies upon the phases of the moon to mark time. The same is true of the Chinese calendar which uses the position of various astronomical elements to determine the passage of a new year.

As human beings, we strive for specific beginnings and endings to all things. There is an alpha and omega. A birth and a death. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries as an inexorable march from our own beginning to our inevitable end. Early civilizations did not follow those same guidelines. They noted the moon phases, the growing seasons, the natural cycles of nature.

We have created a calendar to make sense, to provide order, to our own lives. We have seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years marked off so that we can remember just where we are currently in our own life. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day provide us with a comforting sense of continuity in what is otherwise a very messy world.

What does await us in 2014?

Mid-term Congressional elections! Always a tumultuous and mean-spirited time for American politics. We also have local elections, which should pale in comparison to the dreck that we're sure to see on the national stage.

Wars. American forces have already been pulled from Iraq, and are being drawn down in Afghanistan. Tensions heat up in Syria, Somalia and the Sudan. Small nations with precious resources will wield an inordinate amount of influence on the world stage.

Economy. Third and fourth quarter job numbers were all up. GNP numbers continue to show an increase. Real income continues to show a loss against real costs. Congress continues to play politics with budgets, spending limits and appropriations rather than tending to business.

Life in Mason. Here's the most important thing to remember - - - while the rest of the world lets all of the aforementioned items dictate their actions and rule their lives, we in the little town of Mason have discovered that there is a way to live our lives in spite of what is going on around us.

We get up every morning and we go to work. We go to school. We head out into the fields, pastures, stores and classrooms. We do the things that provide us an income or that enrich our lives, and we let all the rest of the world keep doing its own thing.

We focus on our families and our friends and allow our interactions with them to dictate how we make our decisions. We date, we marry, we raise children, we tend to the sick and we provide a shoulder when it's needed.

We listen, we watch, we interact. We build lives of meaning and substance based upon things that really matter. And, we learn to love and rely upon those around us rather than waiting for Washington, Austin or anyone else to solve our problems for us.

Happy new year. May your 2014 be a rich and rewarding year.

It’s all just my opinion.

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