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Column: Gratitude in 2018

Posted: January 15, 2018 4:12 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Hello 2018! A new year is upon us, and I am so excited about all the great things in store for our beautiful city! I know that many of you have made resolutions that you intend to stick to for the next 11 months. Or perhaps some of you have already broken your resolutions! (If that’s you, it’s okay.) In many instances, people start out positive and optimistic and then their old patterns sneak back into their day-to-day lives. Statistically, most people who come up with New Year’s resolutions don’t follow through on them long term. I find that I no longer make resolutions at the start of the year, but instead am learning to simply live a life of gratitude. Lately I have begun a practice at the end of the day where I sit quietly, with no distractions, and think about what I’m grateful for, the people I’m grateful to have in my life, and the amazing city that I am so grateful and honored to serve as mayor. 

This approach has really changed how I view my life, and at the end of the day, how I live it. After having a busy day where, more often than not, I barely have a spare moment to myself, I find that gratitude can take any negative and turn it into a positive. Oftentimes, by finding a way to be thankful for my troubles, they become blessings for me. I have noticed that when I decide to focus on the good with a heart full of gratitude, it helps to make me happier, even when life is tough and challenging.

In this new year and new season, I urge each of you to begin to intentionally start living a life of gratitude. I think most of you would agree that we would all love to be at peace and content in any and every situation life throws at us, but that’s not realistic. The reality is that there is always something to be grateful for, in spite of the way things look. There is always a silver lining! In the moments of difficulty, choose to focus on what you are grateful for and replace the negative thoughts with ones of gratitude. Watch how, by choosing to focus on what you are thankful for, your load lightens a bit, your thinking clears, hope emerges, health improves, energy levels increase, as fear and anger subside. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated it best by saying that each of us should, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously.” I challenge you to give it a try from today forward and practice it every single day! What do you have to lose?

Let me share just one more New Year thought with you. As a city, we can practice positive thinking and gratitude. Let’s choose to drive around the city and look at various signs of positive growth and progress. Travel around our amazing city and see new schools being constructed, a new hotel being built close to Exit 98, a new bank breaking ground, infrastructure repairs and maintenance, and new businesses claiming Camden as their home.  I embrace the challenge of continuing to improve our city, but I also choose to be grateful for every good thing that has happened in our fair city thus far!!

Blessings for a bright and bountiful 2018!


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