By Ann Robson

Well, it’s happened again. Another year gone and a new one ready and waiting for us, anxious to see what we’ll do with this precious gift.

It will be hard to top my outgoing year for highlights—a 75th birthday spent with family all in one place, a rare occasion these days. Co-celebrants for the month of August included those turning 4, 5, 40, and 78. I think my niece’s 40th was the most traumatic.

There were many pictures taken that day and as I review them, I see my mother sitting in my place. (She died in 2000 at 92, but I’ve been told since earliest memory that I looked like her. I now believe it, whereas I used to tell myself it was a foggy mirror or not having my glasses on.)

To celebrate, OutreachNC allowed me to participate in the hot air balloon story so that major item has been crossed off my life list. Two other items were removed. I had always wanted to meet and interview Maya Angelou and Pete Seger, but they left this earth before I got to them.

The list still lives and changes according to world events or opportunities that I may meet. Long ago, I gave up making resolutions to give up something or start something else. I really wonder how many of us make and keep resolutions. Everyone needs a goal of some sort. For some of us, it’s getting from one day to the next. Yet, we should enjoy the journey. Sometimes life tends to sneak up on us and throw a curve in the form of an illness, a loss or something else we didn‘t want. Yet, when you look back on some of the speed bumps of 2014, you discover that you did make it after all.

“No” is such a negative word that I’m trying to use

it sparingly. Instead of not doing something in the new year, I think we should all try to do something—something we enjoy doing, something that will make another happy, something that says we are all in this together, so let’s get on with it together.

Many groups appeal to our kindness during the holiday season, and usually, we respond in a wonderful way. But what happens when the wrapping paper is gone, the food is gone, the money is gone but the need is still there? Money should not determine whether a senior pays for a prescription or heat. A parent shouldn’t have to constantly worry about the health and comfort of her children. Those who are unable to live on their own shouldn’t have to be alone.

If we could find it in our hearts to be kind and giving before Christmas, can we not try to do the same after? If poverty is a year-round thing, then should we respond however we can year-round? I find it shocking that national statistics show the middle class gives a greater percentage of what they have than those who are at the top of our monetary heap. If we take Warren Buffett’s financial advice, then shouldn’t we follow his charitable lead?

We don’t have to look very far to find a need in our communities. What a wonderful way to start a new year by making sure that at least one other person can enjoy life, too. Happy New Year!