Let’s focus on what’s important in the New Year

By Joanne Peterson | Dec 31, 2013

Writing a weekly column for my hometown paper still feels like a lucky break.  It’s a continuing pleasure. Possibly I use the word “privilege” overmuch, but so much of my life feels privileged that the word often fits. After submitting over 450 consecutive columns, I still feel privileged to write every week for my community paper, The Beacon.

With the beginning of 2014, I’ve struggled to think of something to write that would be out of the ordinary, something I haven’t written about 20 or a hundred times. I’ve been thinking readers deserve something inspirational, something lofty. Something different—a column that didn’t repeat the topics that seem to find their way onto the screen of my computer week after week: supporting the food bank, shopping locally, getting myself organized, simplifying life, admiring the Dogs of Edmonds and, oh, yes, spending time with my grandchildren.

I mean, really, beyond all that, life is so amazing that you’d think there would be a thousand other topics for me to address.  I’ll work on that this year.

The thing is, I suppose I write about what’s most important to me. That’s what writers do, as a rule. And then I hope people will read my words and perhaps be reminded of what’s important to them, too.

For example, I write so often about the food bank because I am not hungry. It is not acceptable that other people in Edmonds are hungry, people who, at least for a while, need help feeding their families. The rest of us – through the food bank – can help.

I write about shopping locally because it is our merchants, our businesses, that form the financial core of this community. If we don’t buy gifts, services, clothes, glasses, books, candy, hardware and groceries from them, they might go away. That’s a huge issue! No wonder I write often about shopping locally.

As to writing about getting organized and simplifying my life, every January since the beginning of forever, I have decided I will change my ways.  I vow to cut back and embrace a lifestyle free of unnecessary items, things that seem to possess me, instead of the other way around.

Possibly my intentions become tedious to those who read the same thing each January.  By now – if they give it a thought – they probably figure I will never change. Perhaps I’ll surprise them this year.

As to the Dogs of Edmonds, wearing raincoats, cheerfully walking their people, I write about them because I think they are charming. So are cats, of course, but the Cats of Edmonds tend to stay home; they do not walk their people.

Finally, there’s my tendency to go on about my grandchildren. Well, yes, there’s that.  I probably cannot help myself in 2014. If you are a grandparent, you know. You know. Why, just last night, my little Adam said, “Grandma, I love you all the way to New York.” How sweet was that?

Happy New Year!

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