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Looking Back and Leaping Forward

As 2011 comes to a close, we all tend to look back on the past 365 days and analyze where we've been and what we've done. Some years are better than others, and some years... Well, some years just down right stink. I can think of a few years that I'd prefer not to remember. But all years past and all that we have been through help to make us who we are. As my mom used to say, it all goes into the cookie dough that makes us "us." The financial struggles taught us to be money wise and consciously think about all our purchases. The health struggles have taught us to take care of ourselves. The missed opportunities have taught us to continue to look ahead for the other door that has been opened. The deployments and physical separations from our loved ones have taught us to appreciate the times we are together.

But the good moments and successes have taught us just as much as the struggles. Each happy moment with family helps us to realize how great life really is. The successes in our careers or personal lives give us the encouragement to carry on. The laughter helps us to feel alive. All of these moments; the happy ones and the tough ones, make us who we are. It's all in how we choose to use those moments. We can choose to allow the bad moments to hold us back, or we can use the bad (and the good) to build us up and move us forward. The glass is half empty, or the glass can be half full.

Whether it was a good year or a bad year, whether you faced struggles and hardships, great strength and knowledge comes from the moments of our past. Sometimes we may not feel stronger and may not feel like we accomplished our goals, but just surviving our greatest trials and coming out on the other side intact is a feat on its own. By not giving in and keeping our heads held high is a great success, and the strength we gained will help carry us through the coming new year.

So whether you leap excitedly in to the new year or anxiously tip toe in, I hope you look back on 2011 and remember the joy, the laughter, the hard work and the struggles, and realize just how much stronger for it you are. Here's to the New Year and wishing you and your family and wonderful, happy, and healthy 2012!

How do you celebrate the new year? What are some lessons 2011 has taught you to make you stronger in the coming year?

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