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Next up... chapter 2023

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” - Michael Altshuler

By Jim Palmer

I stumbled across this quote the other day --- I think it is a good one for us to read as we enter a new year.


Each year, I try to take stock in my life and all things surrounding my life (family, personal goals, business, health, balance, etc). I’m a goal setter, so my next step is thinking about things I want to improve on in the upcoming year. Some years, I just set one or two goals... other years, I have a good sized laundry list. I have found that I tend to reach more goals when I write them down.... so I try to do that too. Of course, some things reappear on the list every year, which is a bit deflating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep trying.


I think the analogy in the quote is a good one. I think it is a good reminder to all of us that we are in control of most aspects of our life. We all know people who just kinda float through life, people who just settle for the path of least resistance every time, or people who have kinda given up on anything new or different than the normal routine.


Ok... let’s switch analogies... Let’s go from a plane and pilot to a book and a writer. Think about every year of your life as a chapter. The year 2023 is your next chapter. Right now, this chapter is unwritten. What do you want this next chapter to be about?



Maybe this is the chapter you learn a new skill -- like playing Bridge or pickleball, or learning a new language, or how to play the guitar, or how to paint with watercolors.

Maybe this is the year you get organized or downsize. Clean out that basement or garage, purge all the stuff you don’t use anymore, and get things just how you like them.


Maybe this is the year you reconnect with past friends and relatives . You could visit your best friend from high school, call a cousin you haven’t seen in a while, or stop by the place you used to work and visit old co-workers.


Maybe this is the chapter you take charge of your health. Eat better, quit smoking, less drinking, more walking, start yoga... or just decide to watch less TV and get outside more.


Maybe this is the chapter you live a little. Take a drive up the north shore and check out the waterfalls, try kayaking, rent an electric bike, golf at Pebble Beach, or take a hot air balloon ride.


Maybe this is the chapter you make a stronger connection with your community? Explore some of the new busineses, shop local more often, stop by the museum and learn about your city’s history, make regular visits to the senior center, or maybe get involved on the park board or other committees/community groups.


Maybe this is the chapter you explore the country, or the world. Where have you always wanted to go? The east coast? Mexico? Europe? What have you always wanted to see? Niagara Falls? The Grand Canyon? The Great Wall of China? Or maybe something closer to home -- Medora? Wisconsin Dells? The Guthrie?


Maybe this is the chapter you make more connections. You could have the neighbors over for root beer floats, form a book club, join a Bible study, a community service group, or the church bell choir.


Maybe this is the chapter you focus on family relationships. Why not plan a fun event with your kids or grandkids, visit your uncle, or call that cousin you lost touch with years ago.


Maybe this is the year you take your marriage to the next level. Schedule a date night each month, take him/her dancing, try something new together like a cooking class, trivia night, or just a new restaurant in a neighboring town.


Maybe this is the chapter you give back. You could volunteer at the humane society, help build a Habitat for Humanity house, deliver Meals on Wheels once a week, sign up to be a Foster Grandparent, or a Sunday school teacher.


The bottom line.... you are in control of writing your next chapter. It is never too late to try something new or change directions. And while certain plot lines are out of your control, and there will be detours and disappointments along the way, most of your story is being written by you and you alone. Let’s all make 2023 a great chapter. Happy new year.

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