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May 29th, 2017

More Than Just Another New Year

by G. E. Shuman

So, Christmas is over, the relatives have gone home, the wrinkled wrap and battered bows are in the trash, and there is nothing left of the leftovers, hopefully. Thursday is New Years Day, and Wednesday night is the traditional time for making resolutions, watching a big shiny ball drop, and, for some, partying to the point of getting stupid. To me, some of these things are just sad.

I have been thinking about all of this, as even my youngest children are grown and have made it known to us that they are less excited about the traditions of Christmas and New Years than they used to be. Christmas morning just isn’t the same without a house full of smiling, small children excitedly emptying stockings and tearing into presents. Oh well, maybe that’s what grandchildren are for; so that grandparents will not be sad during the holidays.

The same thing really goes for New Years Eve and New Years Day, at our house. My wife still likes to watch the parades, and I usually find reasons to spend time in the kitchen or here with my column, when she does. Parades are okay, as are resolutions, and ‘Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve’, even though Mr. Clark is no longer with us. But, somehow, those same old things, to me, lately seem to be just the same old things. They seem tiring and unimportant.

As we approach midnight on December 31st and then move forward into, believe it or not, the year of our Lord 2015, it is my hope that this new year can be more than just another new year. I have no magic formula to make it so, but it seems that resolutions, if any, could be more than a promise to lose twenty pounds, or to give up some silly habit. Those are the ‘traditional’ resolutions, and they have become predictable. In January, EVERY January, you can’t turn on your TV without seeing ads for the latest exercise equipment and diet plans. Admittedly, some of that equipment, which can be useful, is gathering dust in our own spare room upstairs.

My point is, as a citizen approaching senior citizen status, I am thinking that time is growing short and we can do better. We, as Americans, have the collective resources, knowledge and power to actually change our world for the better, forever, at least in some ways. If you think about it, we live on a really big place. This is not a ‘small world’, as some would have us think. It is a massive, living, fertile, water-rich sphere that is more than capable of providing for every single person and animal that lives here. The people of the world do not have to be hungry because of their numbers. It has been shown that every single person on planet earth could stand in the state of Texas, each with a thousand square foot piece of land around him. (Let’s not invite everyone to Texas, let’s just help them where they are.) For instance, the rice patties of Japan and the rocky plots of land of Ethiopia are toiled over and harvested, largely by hand, not by machine, while, I am sure, many no longer used tractors sit idle in barns across our own land. Also, our government is not responsible for world poverty, but does still pay our farmers to not grow all the food they can. I am not an economist, and will never understand that, at least I hope I never will. Simply, and sadly stated, the selfishness of many other governments around our world keeps their own people poor, on purpose, and some, desperately so.

And so, it is my own feeling that the adults of the world need to wake up, grow up, and care, in the year 2015. My family is committed to doing more for others, and began fulfilling that commitment nearly a year ago. I am not bragging on us, and, in fact, intend to increase what we do, as we are given the resources to do so in the new year. I do believe in our capitalistic system, and also believe that it is the best way to produce more to help others with. Ironically, our government is the most generous in the world, when it comes to helping the planet’s poor. But, are we, personally? Will we even remember the Christmas presents we received this year, next year? Will we keep that resolution to lose weight, and will it really matter if we do not?

I know that this has not been a ‘feel good’ column, but I also know that one of the best ways to feel good is to help others. It really is. If you want a truly rewarding new year, don’t make some resolution because you eat too much, make one to try to help those in your neighborhood or in another country, who are unable to eat enough. Lets all make this more than just another new year. Send me a note at: writetog.e.shuman@gmail.com and let me know what you find to do. God Bless.

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