by Lois Bolin
Old Naples Historian
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
“Out with the old and in with the new” is the underpinning of every New Year’s resolution; but as most resolutions seems to go in one year and out the other, why bother at all?
Resolutions are intended to get us off on the right foot each New Year. Symbolic rituals have been meticulously created to affect the quality of the good luck we expect for the coming year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day could bring either good or bad luck for the year. Perhaps this is why private parties became the thing to do.
Since the New Year is all about making the coming year the best, we need to note that perhaps America’s idea of resolutions came from “Poor Richard’s Almanac” in 1738, when Benjamin Franklin wrote of the importance of getting rid of old habits to make way for better ones around the New Year: “Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout.”
Making a resolution (or two) is how we begin to harness our personal power – how we give our lives direction. Yet, what powers our resolutions is this nebulous thing called “purpose,” which works in tandem with our values.
Purpose is our deepest belief within our being – it is a sense of knowing who we are, and what we’re here to do, which provides a source energy to persevere.
No one simplifies this notion of purpose better than Victor Frankl in his book, “Mans Search for Meaning.” if you have a big enough “why,” you can overcome any “how.”
ENGAGING THE WHY
In 2004 I began working to raise awareness on the economic and sociological impact of local history. This path eventually led to me to learn about the impact that WWII had on Naples as well as Florida. In 2010, I started Naples Spirit of 45’s Greatest Generation weekend, which pays tribute to the ending of WWII and the legacy of this extraordinary generation, who set the standard for those who have followed in their footsteps.
Five years later, with the help of many dedicated community stewards, SWFL Veterans Alliance Inc. was started. Our 501(c)(3) is dedicated to the mission of teaching local and American history, and aiding our local veterans. Those individuals are Reg Buxton, Diane van Parys, Wayne Smith and Honorary Board member, Michel Dohtery and Peter Thomas.
Our first outreach was Operation Christmas Spirit where we provided Christmas trees and lights to veterans. On the first day, one of the counselors at our local VA encouraged a reluctant veteran to take home a tree. He decided that maybe he would and maybe he would bring his daughter over for the first time because his dreary place would not be so dreary anymore.
If this had been the only tree taken that day, I would have called the operation successful because who could ask for anything more than to know that the spirit of Christmas would be shining in this vet’s home and maybe within his heart once again.
KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE
The 2016 dye is cast for me. While I am known as an Old Naples Historian, I am also now known as the “veterans lady.” It’s an extraordinary gift I have been given to have met and worked with so many pioneering families. The same is now true for veterans.
Wherever this path may lead, the following will be my guide for the New Year. It has been since 2007:
My vision is set – my gait is steady. The road is long, my way is honorable, my guide is my values.
I cannot be bought, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in a maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, let up, shut up or slow down. My intent is pure – I will serve to preserve the history of our Community – I will serve to preserve the history of our country – I will serve to honor our military and veterans.
(Adapted from Robert Moorehead)
May your best days of 2015 – be your worst days of 2016!