Dear Readers: Christmas is over: Wrapping paper is thrown out, the tree is bundled in its disposable bag and ornaments and decorations are packed away in attics or basements.
New Year's remains, and it, too, must be properly handled.
Businesses are about to start making an inventory of all their merchandise. It is a time, too, that we as individuals need to make our own inventory, or New Year's resolutions.
I never fail to make my list, usually with some carryovers from past years.
The loss or maintenance of weight is always on my list. I also usually add the cleaning out of closets, and the attic and that, too, will be added to this year's list.
Usually, travel is part of my list, and I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of that. Calling to check on old friends and making visits to older or not so well friends are on the list.
Undertaking a bit of writing also will be on this year's list.
Some years I look back over the resolutions from the year before to see how well I have kept them.
In addition to doing an inventory of my good intentions and procrastinations, I do a nightly inventory of each day's behavior and make note if I have hurt someone or behaved thoughtlessly.
I also make amends if the situation calls for such action. It is a wonderful spot-check that I would recommend to anyone.
Topping my list this year is to resolve to learn something new each day; to learn a new language or a new activity. It keeps my mind active and youthful. Keeping one's mind active can be as simple a thing as working the crossword each day or reading challenging books.
Adding an activity that benefits the less fortunate is important, too. Whether it is church work or serving in the soup kitchen or picking up litter off the sidewalks, it means that I am benefiting my community. Volunteer for hospice or the Alzheimer's Association, give some time to the museum, the Boys and Girls Club, read to patients at a nursing home, mentor a child - all of these are worthwhile activities that enhance the life of others and raise our own level of self-worth.
Working in a garden, learning to arrange flowers, experimenting with cooking a new dish, or knitting a sweater all have meaning and add another dimension to one's life.
Activities such as these improve our mental and physical selves.
Make 2007 a year when we raise the level of our conduct and influence those around us to do the same.
Have a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2007 - and please remember not to drink and drive on New Year's Eve.