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Now, where did that optimist’s hat of mine get to?

Thom endeavours to look on the bright side of life in the face of tough times
For your consideration - Thom Barker

Where does the time go?

It seems like only a year ago at this time I was writing a New Year’s column.

OK, that might not be everyone’s sense of humour, but it is mine in a nutshell. And when have we ever needed our senses of humour more than we do now?

For the last two years, it was pretty hard to look forward to the new year with any kind of sense of optimism.

In 2022, we did get past the pandemic. Getting past it means different things for different people. For me, it means accepting that it is now endemic and, as a society, we are learning to live with it as we do so many other risks.

In many ways, at least in the latter half of the year, it felt like we had returned to some semblance of normalcy.

Except we did not emerge from COVID-19 unscathed. In fact, this year, for me at least, the sense of foreboding looking ahead to 2023 is much stronger than it was for 2021 or 2022.

Out-of-control inflation has me reeling. And to make matters way worse, the measures that the central banks are taking to try to control it are only making it worse for average people. Our economic system is made by rich people for rich people and it is only getting worse.

If I’m being honest, it is more difficult this year to put on my optimist’s hat than it has been the last two and I know I am very much not alone in this.

And yet, that is exactly what we must find a way to do because focussing on the dark side is just a recipe for disaster.

In the words of Monty Python’s Flying Circus: If life seems jolly rotten/There’s one thing you’ve forgotten/And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing/When you’re feeling in the dumps/Don’t be silly chumps/Just purse your lips and whistle that’s the thing.

So, here I go, hoping for the best, but planning for the worst as I count the actual blessings I have.

Chief among these is a chance to start afresh with a new partner in a new home in a new town.

This past year I was introduced to Chris Stapleton and his great song “Starting Over.”

This may just be our theme song for 2023, particularly the second verse and chorus:

“This might not be an easy time

There’s rivers to cross and hills to climb

And some days we might fall apart

And some nights might feel cold and dark

But nobody wins afraid of losing

And the hard roads are the ones worth choosing

Some day we’ll look back and smile

And know it was worth every mile

And it don’t matter to me

Wherever we are is where I wanna be

And honey, for once in our life

Let’s take our chances and roll the dice

And I can be your lucky penny

You can be my four leaf clover

Starting over.”

Happy New Year.

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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