So long 2023 and welcome to 2024.
The Rocky Mountain Outlook wishes everyone a healthy, safe and successful new year.
We’re smack-dab in the middle of that kooky time of the holiday season when drinking half a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream before noon is socially acceptable, if not tradition, and by now you’ve processed those new gifted socks that made your inner child gag in utter disgust, while simultaneously, the adult in you highly appreciates others looking out in your best interest.
Aside from trying to figure out what day of the week it is, often new goals for 2024 are being set, otherwise known as New Year’s Resolutions, otherwise known as the one thing that has never failed anyone in the history of humankind. Ever.
However, something that also usually happens at this time is a period to reflect on the past 12 months. For some, what is highlighted are new beginnings and triumphs in school, career, sports, and personal achievements, among others. For others, it’s a reminder of mournful goodbyes, hard times, tragedy, and letting go.
This year started with an untimely death in my family. Due to the closeness of this person, my aunt, it, unfortunately, was a reminder of Alberta rocker Jesse Road’s song Good Seats at a Funeral.
Sitting around hundreds of mourning people at the funeral home, I realized that in life, and, even in death, I learned some of my most important life lessons from her.
My aunt Sharon was a pistol, with a big personality, natural charisma, and quick-wit that could run you over if she wanted. Many often said she missed her calling of being a stand-up comic.
She had a comforting what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen approach to calculate risks, like moving from Toronto to a northern Alberta town you never even heard of, or advising that success comes with failure. Conversations with her kicked me in the ass to do something.
When she passed at the young age of 61, it was another teaching instant to live more in the moment and not sweat over the everyday things in life that we often do.
In the annual year-in-review edition of the Outlook, at the fingertips of the readers is 52 weeks worth of top stories of the people and stories of the Bow Valley. From one community newspaper’s point of view, hardly a week goes by in this small geographical location when something – or someone – doesn’t make headlines nationally, or even internationally.
For some, reading the words back here and seeing the photos will reignite some bright spots in 2023, like glory on the sports field or an accomplishment that truly makes our communities better. For others, what’s in these pages will spark a reminder of failures, hardships and the unfair realness that life throws at us.
In 2024, my hope is that the community can take a little something from aunt Sharon, like learning in triumph and in failure.
Perhaps the most important lessons are not to stress over the little things, cut out toxic personalities, and to continue challenging yourself to do bigger and better things with the time available because life, as they say, is too short.