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Column: Thinking about the upcoming New Year

With this being the last edition of the Three Forks Voice for 2023, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new year.

While 2023 was not my favorite year, it wasn’t the worst. There were a few great memories, another year of questionable decisions, and a flying off-the-road incident in the middle of nowhere I’d like to forget.

As I look to 2024, I have a few things I’d like to try and see if they will help with my constant aggravation in the world. The older I get, the grumpier I seem to be, so I hope a few changes will help. I don’t want to classify them as resolutions because I’ve failed by February each time I try. I bought a gym pass and went once a couple of years ago—one freaking time. Perhaps if I had gotten in better shape as a resolution, I might have got my money’s worth.

So, instead, I’d like to think of them as helpful tips for next year.

One of the first things I’m going to do is to lay off the chaos that is social media. It’s a bit of a tricky situation because I do rely on social media for a lot of aspects of my job and have no intention of not continuing to keep doing the same. It does help a lot with learning about different events and story ideas. What I am going to do is to take a break from all the negativity.

I’ve gotten so tired of the cesspool of political content and Internet trolls who seem to not only have an opinion about everything but are also an expert on every topic. There are people that I went to high school with who could barely read but are now experts in political science or the medical field, and it drives me insane.

I’m going to narrow down who I interact with online in 2024. I’m not going to get into any unnecessary conversations and am going to unfollow a lot of different pages and sites that I get sucked into daily.

I love to watch my favorite sports teams, but now I seem to need to see what people on Twitter think, which is a very toxic trait. I’m just going to watch the games like I used to and not care about what somebody else thinks.

I should probably just put my damn phone down more. Life was so much more exciting before cell phones changed everything.

I think 2024 is also a perfect opportunity to reconnect with old friends who I used to be tight with but have lost touch with. Sometimes it makes me sad that I’ve become distant from many people I used to be close with. I’ve learned as you get older, this often does happen, and while time and distance can also play a factor, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m also going to take a glass-half-full instead of half-empty approach to life. I’m tired of constantly worrying about bills and other stressors in life. Instead, I will be happy with what I have and not let outside factors affect me too much.

In 2024, I would also like to try out many new recipes. Over the past few years, my menus have gotten staler than a Triscuit that got wedged between couch cushions, and I want to mix things up. Sometimes, trying new recipes will fall flat, but occasionally, there is something special to add to the rotation that makes it all worth it.

I think it might also help my mental health to start dancing. I’m just going to do my best impression of Kevin Bacon in “Footloose” and go to an abandoned factory and dance all my rage away. I actually have no intentions of dancing, but that was a lot of fun to type. I should, however, get out of the house more for outdoor activities and start taking a few day trips on the weekends.

This might be the year I actually make it back to the golf course. Since I’m thinking positive, I’m just going to show up, throw my golf bag in the water hazard and just walk around and drink beer. Should be some great exercise.

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