Use the lessons of 2022 to create new beginnings and perspectives.

It’s hard to believe 2023 is finally here! Last year seemed to have so many starts and stops, ups and downs. Now that we’ve rung in the New Year, I pray we’ve all turned a corner toward a brighter future.

As I stated in last year’s letter, my mindset and perspective have changed drastically over the past few years – and 2022 certainly contributed to those changes. We saw economic and public health issues we never thought we’d face. We sorted through emotions about whether we should visit our loved ones for the holiday season or remain home – and for some, home alone.

Yes, 2022 was the year of trial and struggle. But for me, it was also the year of favor. That’s because I continued to discover what’s important in life. I believe how we choose to receive life’s lessons is directly tied to the impact they have on us. Were we drowning, or was our strength through adversity revealed to us in ways we never knew we were cultivating? Were we gaining power and resilience that’ll launch the next chapter of our lives? Perspective is essential to survival, and I’ve realized that life doesn’t just happen to us. Instead, how we choose to perceive the lesson becomes our reality.

Now that we’ve enjoyed another holiday season and reflected on 2022, I ask you to look at things using a different perspective. Don’t ask yourself how you stayed afloat or even succeeded during a difficult year. Instead, how many families did you help get through it? If you’ve had the good fortune of not experiencing too much adversity during the pandemic, reflect on ways you helped those who had a more difficult time coping with the situation.

As you know, we’re not out of the woods yet – and there are always more opportunities to make a difference in other people’s lives. Now, we must act upon those opportunities. Whether it’s a family member or a stranger, somebody out there needs you. Be available for them. You’ll be glad you were, and so will they. We’ve heard that “life is short” and been reminded of that truth over the past several months. Let’s resolve to make the most of our time in 2023. It’s easy to say “there’s nowhere to go but up” after an incredibly challenging year, but even during better days – which I hope are in store for us this year – there’s always a way to have an uplifting influence on the lives of everyone we encounter.

- Lawrence Montani