Closeup of a flower arrangement with white mums, red carnation and pine needles in the back

A new year has started, a time for hope and optimism, the opportunity to restart. However, after the last two years, this year feels like a repeat and not a good repeat. As people struggle with simple things, it is too easy too complain and expect change and fixes to come from someone else. Usually some type of leader, in government, business, schools, health care, etc, is expected to step up and make things right.  With enough complaints, surely someone will step up and make our life better.

While out for a run the other day, I thought about leaders and fixing things. I get frustrated because I see problems and feel despair that I do not have the power to correct the issues.  I realized I have an underlying assumption that a single person, the right person, can fix the world if they wanted to. As I thought about this, I understood that one person, no matter how charismatic and powerful, would not be able to change things by themselves.  
What one person can do is to have a vision of a better future and a plan on how to get there, with the help of a community.  To take this action requires an act of trust from others that their combined actions can correct an issue or many problems.

A picture of mountains. The mountains are created using different colored wood to show snow, tree lines and other detail in the pictures
It is all too easy to speak of a leader creating change when the reality is that a leader with a community and trust can work together to solve problems. The leader may be given credit at the time. However, the best leaders are those who recognizes the achievements of the community and praises everyone for their actions

The final realization on my part is that change occurs when people like myself take small actions towards a common goal. With the start of this year I am looking for actions I can take that help the communities I am a part of.  I realize that some of our problems have been building for years and possibly decades so they will take time to correct. To paraphrase a saying I’ve seen recently, the best time to start fixing things was decades ago. The next best time to start is today.

Closeup of the blades of a model wind turbine, against a brown background

A Happy New Year to everyone and a wish for good physical and mental health as we start another troublesome year.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster. Selected prints of his work can be purchased at our Redbubble shop

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