Let’s work to make 2018 a better year

What might be the most logical statement about this new year is that 2018 is going to be a fragile year.

While 2017 was steeped in national controversy, 2018 needs to be a twelve-month period pointed away from such a counterproductive — perhaps even dangerous — scenario.

This year needs to be one committed to careful steps aimed at mending relationships, not to encouraging differences to grow worse.

It needs to be a year when enhancing cooperation and respect is at the forefront.

There must be determination not to live as a prisoner to stubborn, negative, self-destructive attitudes.

It also needs to be a year dedicated to ending afflictions that are eroding or destroying the lives of so many, while at the same time damaging their families and personal relationships and undermining their communities.

All people have a role in determining quickly the kind of road on which this year will travel. Hopefully, we will steer clear of avoidable “potholes.”

The right words for today are “let’s hope so.” The right words for all of the 365 days before us are “let’s hope so.”

Caution and the right mindset must prevail to help fix what’s been wrong.

Maybe it’s too much to ask for or expect — but what needs to happen in Washington as well as in state capitals like Harrisburg — but making inroads is possible.

Places like Altoona and Blair County have the opportunity again to serve as good examples of how myriad entities existing within them can leave a positive footprint. However, opportunities for greater improvement and accomplishment will likely make themselves known, and must be seized upon.

The most pressing need for the city and county in the 12 months ahead must be many more attacks on the opioid crisis. Beefed-up laws with tougher penalties, originating at the federal and/or state level, are needed to put more pressure on sellers to expose their drug sources.

Putting up a new calendar isn’t going to change the course of local history, or state or national history. But with a calendar change comes a traditional opportunity to conduct a self-examination to help fix what needs to be changed, not only for one’s own personal benefit but for the benefit of others, too.

It’s never too late to try. It’s never too late to ask for help from others, when problems seem overwhelming.

For many people, New Year’s Eve was a night of partying to welcome 2018. The partying was an all-too-short respite from life’s challenges and headaches — some problems not of one’s own making but some that, unfortunately, were.

Help yourself, beginning today, by launching an attack against things that might be damaging or threatening your well-being or life, whether it be alcoholism, drug use, gambling, impatience, anger, frustration, negativity, confrontations, domestic disputes, laziness — whatever. Strive to become a source of positive guidance, not a bad example.

One way to detour from your problems is by becoming active in a good cause.

In general, make a pledge — a resolution — to yourself to do better this year, and stick by it.

If you do, Jan. 1, 2019, might not hold the challenges and uncertainties that greeted your life less than 24 hours ago.