By Lisa Whaley
In just a few days, Unicoi County will be ringing in a brand-new year with all its hopes and promises.
As a community, there is a lot on the horizon: new church buildings going up, a new hospital to open and the excitement of new businesses or business opportunities as 2017 turns into 2018.
But as always, when it comes down to what will or will not happen in 2018, it really lies in the hands of each man, woman and child within each community.
And that’s where, I believe, the much-maligned New Year’s Resolution list comes into play.
Though many dread “the list,” I actually love this time of year, presented like the proverbial clean slate, all clean and shiny and ready for a fresh start.
True, I’ve had my share of crazy resolutions; ones that promised to turn me into a thinner, healthier, much more organized person for the coming year, along with an impossible-to-meet list of expectations.
Instead, I think the secret to a successful list may be to turn our eyes outward. No more “I will be perfect in 2018.” Instead, let’s look to our community, friends and neighbors for that glimpse of perfection.
With that in mind, here is my recommended New Year’s Resolution List for 2018.
Try to visit one locally owned business each week. A healthy community requires a thriving collection of local stores, shops and services. Extra points if the local business you try is also a new business.
Support one local fund-raiser, service or non-profit each month. The Unicoi County Animal Shelter and the Kiwanis Club of Erwin, as well as school projects and fundraisers, are just a few examples. Remember, the amount is not nearly as important as the act. If you just have $1 or $2 to give, that is still a generous gift.
Attend at least one local event, preferably each month or so. This one can be a little tougher, depending on the size of the event. But when you look at the commitment exhibited behind the scenes to put on such treasures as “Patriot Day Tribute,” “Unicoi County Apple Festival,” “Erwin Elephant Revival,” it’s a small price to pay to take part in the joy. School and church productions certainly count, as well as open houses and club events.
Get involved. The best towns have citizens that don’t just watch on the sidelines. In Erwin and Unicoi County, there is a group for almost every interest or cause. Love Blue Ridge Pottery? There is a club for that. Treasure local history? There is a club for that. Looking to volunteer your talents? There are so many groups who would be thrilled to hear from you. Once again, every little bit helps.
Treasure your town. Like counting blessings before you go to sleep, try to note one thing each week that you find special about living and working in the towns of Erwin, Unicoi or within the county.
I think you’ll be surprised at how often you come up with things and how long that list can be. As I look back to my first few months in Erwin, I know one of the things I will continually take note of is the warmth and kindness with which you have always greeted me. You have made me feel welcome.
And, as I move ahead into the New Year, I will be posting this list near my desk as 2018’s resolutions.
I know I want to be part of everything that goes on here.