A new decade begins


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It's not only the end of another year, it is the end of yet another decade or the beginning of another, whether you look at the glass half full or half empty.

There is no doubt that the past year has been one of the most difficult.  A global financial meltdown, war in Afghanistan where our North American young men and women are engaged, talk of global climate change that has seen the ice of our North and South poles dramatically plummet, huge corporate bankruptcies and employee lay-offs have impacted lives the liked of which haven't been seen since the Great Depression.

If, however, you talk to an older generation about the depression, they will soon reassure you, or warn you ... "you ain't seen nothing yet".

They went through it all ... soup kitchens, long unemployment lines, losing homes and farms to foreclosure.  While it may not be exactly the same, the two eras definitely have similarities.

There is no doubt that this past year, 2009, may have been an awakening.  Those of the 'me' generation of baby-boomers suddenly realize that the future of their children and grandchildren rely on what happens now.

While 2009 may not have been the most positive of years in world events, in the long run, perhaps it has taught us all a lesson.

We are all connected on the planet ... the air we breathe and the water we drink are really all that matters. 

Despite politicians and economists telling us that we can't make changes without keeping the economy moving, perhaps, we can make changes, while even boosting the economy.

But ... enough of doom and gloom.  There have also been very positive events this past year, from country to county to community to causes, 2009 saw incredible results.

One of the most positive, for Canada at least, has been the evolvement of a national, patriotic sentiment surrounding the Olympic Winter Games.  The Olympic Torch made the longest trek in its history since 1936, traveling throughout small rural communities and large urban centres alike across the breadth of Canada.  It has brought Canadians together in a common cause.

More locally, in Bruce County, it was also a year where people gave more financially than ever before to the United Way charities.  They gave, and kept giving, until the United Way exceeded its goal by more than $200,000.  Although the bar had already been raised to $350,000, the final result was a resounding $550,000.

Even more locally, a relatively small but the second busiest  hospital in Bruce County, Saugeen Memorial Hospital located in Southampton, held its annual 'Light the Way' fundraiser that purchases equipment for the hospital.  The goal for 2009 was $80,000 ... a goal that was again exceed with almost $100,000 raised through community support.

As a cause, the local 'Special Olympians' raised more money this past year than ever before.  Thanks once again to the generosity of the community, those with special challenges will have opportunities that may not have been possible.

Yes, 2009 hasn't been an easy year but it would appear that, when the going gets tough ... the tough get going.

What will 2010 bring?  None of us know but ... it's the beginning of a new year and a new decade. Undoubtedly, we all start off with our resolutions of weight loss, quitting smoking, getting more exercise and the list goes on.

Perhaps, just taking the time every day to look at the glass as half full, instead of half empty, won't hurt.


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Thursday, December 31, 2009