The old year ends and a new one begins.  The first few months of a  New Year can certainly be busy ones, as you put closure on the year that has just passed while taking steps into the New Year. But the dark and the cold of a New England winter do not encourage this. If anything, just the opposite.  It is a time of year when many of us feel like hibernating until the spring, of staying in, of waiting. Winter will pass into spring.  The snow will melt. The dark will give way to longer days.  And for those of us in the land of ice and snow—and I think this includes a good part of the South this year—the long days of summer will eventually return. We know this. But in the long, cold nights of winter it is easy to forget.

As we enter the New Year, it is a time to be hopeful. Not just that the spring will come early, but hopeful about our world, the world that we will be creating in this New Year.

So stay active. Don’t let the cold and the dark slow you down. Plan, dream and act. You will need both realism and idealism in the New Year. Realism, as Henry Kissinger once said, to take the first steps toward your goals, and idealism to know what your goals are.  In the New Year let your values animate your behavior.  Hope is a choice.

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