It is a new year and a fresh start.  There is no doubt that last year was one of the hardest for Grand County, our nation, and the world in general. So many friends and family have had their lives drastically changed between the fires, pandemic, and loss of livelihood or in some cases loss of life.  It is presumptuous to think that we can all just easily pick up the pieces and jump start into a new and improved life, but it is also these times of challenge when opportunities are at the highest possibility of success.  Personally, loss of some of my income due to COVID has led me to think in terms of bigger picture ideas for the future.

Forming the life of your dreams takes vision, time, hard work, and faith that it is worth it.  It also takes a bit of luck to be able to make sacrifices and bold decisions.  Having lived in developing countries with subsistence farmers, I understand it is a great privilege to have good health, education, and the ability to earn an income.  But putting aside different levels of privilege, have you asked yourself: what do you want your life to be now, in five years, in ten?  Is what you are doing supporting your values for the environment, the community and your best future?

It is often hard to know what you want out of your life because of being busy or stuck in a routine.  As an academic advisor, I worked with people to assist them in discovering and achieving their goals.  Writing lists of Pros and Cons of your current situation or opportunities is one strategy. Maybe your focus is more health or personal-growth related instead of career-oriented. Once goals are determined, create a list of steps needed to get there.  Some may require education or training, or perhaps a type of an internship, volunteer position, partnership, or a mentor in a specific skill.  There are a lot of options for Grand County between informal workshops, online courses, small business counseling, talented entrepreneurs, and Denver is accessible for almost everything else. 

But there is no need to wait for a new year, each morning offers a fresh start, new light, and new possibilities.  Every day is the right day to make a difference.  Changing the routine for a few weeks in the morning by taking a quick walk or a yoga session can reset your habits.  “Paying it forward” doing something nice for someone, or just saying “Good morning” to people can make your day brighter and theirs. Being generous is empowering. 

What matters is that decisions are made consciously and deliberately.  Life is short and authenticity is important for each of us.  Be your own strongest supporter and believe in yourself.  With the current disruption, take the time to rebuild according to your ethics and inspiration if possible and support others who are as well.  Doing so with compassion for the earth, the greater community, and yourself at the center of your decisions makes a better world and encourage others to do the same.  Our challenges are great, but the solutions are greater.

Robyn Wilson has degrees in Sustainable Communities, Bilingual/Multicultural Education and International Business.  Her family returned to Fraser to manage Grandma Miller’s New Horizons.