Even the most upbeat, optimistic, energetic people sometimes get into a rut. The same-old, same-old can get you down and make the horizon look bleak. To get out of that rut, it helps — psychologically, physically and emotionally — to have a breaking point, a juncture at which you can make a clean getaway.
The start of a new year can be just that.
Whether 2013 was a dismal disappointment or a resounding success, 2014 can be a new beginning for local residents and for the community as a whole. In the latter case, we must focus on what is truly important and not get distracted by the petty stuff.
So, here are three simple suggestions to help you play a role in making Madison County a better place in 2014:
1. Make the 2014 county elections (sheriff, council, commissioner and other positions are on the ballot) all about the issues and candidate qualifications.
If you’re a staunch Republican or a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, change your outlook by considering candidates on the other side. Who has the best experience to get the job done? Who has the best ideas to make county government use tax dollars wisely while improving public services?
If everyone were to use these criteria for voting, we’d have a better group of public servants, ergo a better government infrastructure.
2. Focus on learning.
Madison County has a low rate of residents (17 percent versus the national average of 29 percent) with a four-year college degree. Perhaps as distressingly, many locals give up learning after they get out of high school; they’re not nearly aware enough of the world around them.
If you commit yourself to learning three things — new facts, how to cook a new dish, how to use new technology, etc. — a day, you’ll be armed with more than 1,000 scraps of new knowledge by the end of the year.