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Open Mike

I'm looking forward to the new year

There are mere hours left in 2003. Another year under our belts and what have we learned?

I enjoy the holiday season, particularly New Year's Day, because it allows us the chance to learn from the past year, to better ourselves. January 1st is truly the only day of the year that really allows us to wake up and say 'hey, its a new day.'

This past year, at least for me, proved to be one of growth and gave me a new understanding of the life around me.

The year 2003 taught me quite a bit about life on both a personal and professional level. A lot of what I am writing about is going to be vague, but if you have been through it, you will know what I am talking about. And if you haven't, you will realize what I am talking about once you get there.

In 2003, I learned that your job title isn't as important as you might think. The past year taught me that life isn't about your job. Look how many people have sold their soul for career advancement and have got nothing worthwhile out of it. Professionally, I have come to realize that a job title is not as important as the people and things that happen in your job.

Personally, I learned in 2003 that stuff simply happens in life. Sometimes you don't know why and aren't really meant to understand. The problem many people run into is thinking they should know why this happened and why that happened, but that isn't the answer. The solution to any problem is learning what you are and aren't supposed to know.

I learned two very valuable lessons in the past year. Two of the most powerful and important parts of life I learned about in 2003 have to do with the ability to forgive and the ability to let yourself be forgiven. The two go hand-in-hand. Life does get a lot better when you simply let something that happened go and move forward with your life, accepting the fact there is nothing you can do to change it. I learned just how important it is to let go of the pain that certain situations bring.

This past year showed me the most important things in life are the one you wake up next to in the morning, your family and your friends. After all, at my funeral no will show up simply due to the fact I am a reporter, will they?

In 2003, I learned about the importance of the choices we make in life and how they affect those around us. I learned that we make choices to love, hate, be with one another or to stand on our own. In 2003, I learned that I can indeed stand on my own. But I also learned that I have made the choice that I don't want to stand alone. In 2003, I learned first-hand about the ability to believe in what you know is true and never give up.

I almost made the worst mistake of my life in listening to someone I never should have listened to. Putting the loss of a bit of money above those I care about was not the best advice I've ever received. This situation showed me the importance of listening to what is in your heart and fighting for what you believe in.

This past year showed me that we do truly all forget at one time or another just how much we care about those important to us. Sometimes we need something dramatic to happen to show us just how much we care.

In 2003, I learned the importance of listening to a child-they are much smarter than we give them credit for-and never missing the opportunity to tell those you care about that you love them.

This past year showed me that we all truly do have friends, sometimes we just forget to look around. I would like to tell one of my friends, Steve Hull, that I'm sorry I haven't made the effort to see him. I am just busy trying to live what he taught me during the past year. I am a slow learner, but so far so good.

The past year showed me first-hand the importance of showing up, being there when it counts. It showed me that there is nothing wrong with admitting you are wrong or giving some ground.

The past year showed me that the good guy does sometimes win in the end. I also learned that love (which everyone has their own definition of) truly does conquer all.

While 2003 proved to be full of valuable lessons for me, one thing I do know, I am a lot happier now than I was at the beginning of the year. I have a deep love for my family, friends and life in general-although it seems to be going by way too quick. I learned in 2003 that sometimes one must travel long distances to reach their final destination.

Do I know what tomorrow holds or even the next day? No, I don't! I don't care really, because I am living for all the wonders that today brings-from the smile of my beautiful wife to the wonderful laugh of my children to the times I enjoy with my friends and co-workers.

I still have a lot to learn about life, on both a personal and professional level, but I am not afraid any more of what will happen. I have adopted the attitude that I will learn from my mistakes and make myself better. What else can I really do?

I read once-actually in a motivational calendar, but nonetheless still worthy of our attention-that life isn't about what happens, but rather how we react to it. React to life well and enjoy the new year, make the most of every day. Greet each day like it is Jan. 1.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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