Another New Year is upon us, and with it comes that annual gaze forward and glance back. I’m an optimist, so I see good things ahead. And even though 2009 will be recorded as a lousy year by most people, I’d rather focus on things that made it a good year.

Overall, we have enjoyed good health, and while the economy may have made us tighten our belts a notch or two, we still enjoy a level of plenty that is the envy of much of the world. There are people out there who are struggling in scary places to protect that for all of us, and we can never do enough to demonstrate our appreciation.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching my children grow another year older and discover that I enjoy their company even more with each passing year. I believe the world will benefit from their presence here.

Andrea and I attained a remarkable milestone this year, as we celebrated our 25th anniversary in a way that was most enjoyable and comfortable, over a quiet meal at St. Elmo’s.

I continue to earn a living by doing something that I genuinely enjoy and seem to be fairly competent at. Few people can say that. And my work gives me the freedom to be involved in efforts to strengthen and better the community.

My eyes can still see the beauty of the seasons and the delights that surround us all. My ears still capture so many beautiful sounds, from the gentle greetings of our resident chickadees to the rumble of a summer storm.

It’s true that we were saddened by the loss of loved ones, as well as people we admired and considered friends, but their passing forced us to remember what made them special. Those memories are what we’ll carry with us when we hear their names or see something we know they would have enjoyed.

Finally, my father’s health stabilized and we were able to move him to a place where he can maintain his independence under the watchful eye of some very caring people. (His health problems explain my absence from this blog for a while.)

To my family, my friends, my clients, and the three people who actually read this blog, thank you for being part of 2009, and my best wishes for happiness, good health, and whatever form of prosperity brings you joy in the coming year!