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Sheriff reflects on year's end

Each new year brings with it an opportunity for both reflection on the year we leave behind as well as anticipation for year that we embark upon. Each of us will look back on 2022 and take from it both the good and the challenging. We leave 2022, having lost loved ones while hopefully creating new relationships that were not there when the year began. For some, lives are better than they were a year ago, while for others they find themselves in the midst of struggle or loss. In both cases, the new year brings with it the opportunity for introspection, and focus. We look inward to re-affirm the purpose for which we live, or in some cases re-visit that purpose based on our experiences through the past year. So much of what we saw in 2022 just as it has been throughout history was out of our control, and no doubt, very much of what happens 2023 will also be out of our control. That being said, while we cannot control much of what has happened or what happens in the future, we can control our own response and reaction to it.

            

Although we have no control over those people or events around us, we can in fact influence them. This idea between control and influence is an important difference. Too often, we try to control, which leaves us both frustrated and exhausted with little to show for it, however, if we direct our efforts to being a positive influence in those around us, or in events that come our way, we now have the potential for real impact. This influence can be as simple as starting the day with a pleasant smile for those we meet, or a positive spin on what others may see as a negative situation. This brings us to the second part, Focus.

           

The new year is, if nothing else, a great time to pause and focus on what really matters. Too often that focus gets blurred as the pressures and priorities come at us as if we were drinking from a fire hose. We lose focus on long term goals as we find ourselves reacting to the many unforeseen events that confront us throughout the year. We need to periodically put things back into perspective so that we don’t find ourselves traveling down an alternate life path that we didn’t set but rather we were diverted to by some outside force. This isn’t always easy as we parcel out our time and energy in so many different directions, be they family, work, friends, or community. While each of these are worthy of our efforts and focus, we need to remember that you can not give water from an empty well. In order to be the best for those around us, we first need to replenish our own personal well. This is not to be taken as a selfish perspective, but rather a means to perpetuate our ability to give of ourselves.

            

So, as we welcome the new year, let us do so with a strong sense of both reflection and anticipation. With a commitment not to control, but to influence. Let’s take a moment to make sure that we have taken inventory in all that is good and challenging and focus our efforts in a direction that will yield the greatest outcomes and results for both ourselves personally and all those we meet. 

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