In the next few days, we'll be celebrating the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.
The past year has seen much locally, across West Virginia, the nation and the world, and I'm sure we've all hard our favorite moments and those we would rather forget.
I'm sure many are putting together their lists of resolutions for the new year, hoping to make some changes or improvements, setting goals or planning for some big event.
I personally try not to make resolutions, especially nothing too specific. I suppose I worry about the pressure we all put behind accomplishing them. We make such a big deal of setting them, and then a few weeks later we feel let down because we haven't started doing this or that.
That's not the way to start out a new year, so I?figure there's no point in the tradition.
There are things I like to do, however, and it helps me to learn and, hopefully, grow as a person.
For me, the change in year is always a time to look back. There are always going to be things we would like to change about ourselves, goals we would like to accomplish, places we would like to see or things we would like to experience.
The important thing, however, is what we have learned from those changes and experiences.
I try to take some time at the end of each year to reflect on the last several months.
What have I learned? What opportunities may I have had if I?had acted differently? Could I have handled a situation better?
Each day we get the chance to learn. We are faced with decisions. Some lead us in a direction we like, while others don't.
We can't go back and change those events from happening. All we can do is move forward, learn from those experiences, change our attitudes and hope we will make a different choice should those opportunities ever arise again.
What changes do you want to make? What can you do to make those changes?
I'm always looking to learn. Whether it's reading a new book, trying my hands at a new skill, playing a new game or taking a class.
We can't accomplish anything by simply going through the motions and doing the exact same thing over and over again. We can't become better people without being willing to accept that we don't know everything and taking those steps to learn something new.
It's something we don't have to limit to the beginning of a new year, either.
Our lives become stagnant if we do not try to gain new skills and knowledge. We sometimes need to take chances, even if if means leaving behind what is comfortable.
Personally, I periodically try to evaluate my life and figure out what I?might need to do differently. New Year's is just a time to reflect on a longer period of time at once.
I'm not the same person I was even a few years ago, and I doubt the person I was when I started at this newspaper 12 years ago would recognize me in many respects.
There are always going to be things I want to change, and as I work on those, I will learn and grow.
There are places I would like to see, skills I would like to learn (or re-learn in some cases), and adjustments that will need to be made.
Where I will end up as a result, I don't know. None of us do.
The point is to keep moving forward.
I have a small list of things I would like to do this year and I'm sure more will be added to it as time goes by.
In the meantime, I'm also thinking hard about 2013.
What could I have done differently??What did I possibly pass up by making my choices?
It doesn't matter if something exists in my personal life or professional life. Each aspect affects me as a whole and will form who I am in the years ahead.
Don't forget the experiences we have had. Think about the lessons from those experiences. Learn from them. Move forward in your life.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)