Take chances to make 2008 great

By Helena Rodriguez: Local columnist

If 2007 wasn’t exactly heaven, then 2008 should be great. Like that rhyme?

How about these?

With ’08 comes the great debate. Lose weight in ’08. Mate in ’08. End hate in ’08.

Whatever fate awaits you in ’08, have a happy new year. May your resolutions continue long past the turning of the calendar page, that is, if you make resolutions.

The only resolution I resolve to make this year is to be open to change and live my life one day at a time.

I expect ’08 to be a year of many transitions. My 17-year-old daughter Laura will be graduating from high school in May. She hopes to go to college in another town. For the first time in 18 years, I may find myself alone, perhaps even living in a different town than my daughter.

Also, I hope in ’08 to officially embark on a second career in life and work in the teaching field fulltime. This may or may not mean leaving our Land of Enchantment, which I have called home most of my life, with the exception of the 2 1/2 years in which I lived abroad, in the land of Texas.

It’s always good to start a new year with a positive attitude, especially after coming out of a really trying year, like this past one has been to me. One never knows what lies just over the horizon.

Just when you think everything is calm and uneventful, listen carefully — you just may hear wings flapping, perhaps a new pair of wings in the horizon. There may also be a few storm clouds, but they’ll soon roll by. Think of it this way: with the rain comes rainbows and welcome sunshine.

I’m already off to a running start as we enter ’08. I’ve actually had an opportunity this holiday season to work on a manuscript that I started in early fall and I am on a roll. I’ve made it to Chapter Three and I plan to keep punching the keyboard everyday.

For the past few years, I’ve been trying to find time to write, sometimes making lame excuses like, “I have to work during my school break so we can have food on our table.”

Seriously, though, if you feel like I do, like you’re not getting any younger and the clock is ticking and you still have several “to-dos” on your “Things I Must Do Before I Die” list, then let ’08 be great. Don’t wait. Just create.

Create opportunities! Snatch them! If someone starts to extend one your way, don’t hesitate. Grab it and don’t let go. You never know when you’ll get another opportunity. Opportunities don’t grow on trees, and remember, the clock is still ticking.

I always bear in mind one memorable Dear Abby column. I don’t remember this man’s exact words, but he wrote something like, “I’ve always wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor, but I’m 45 and I will be over 50 by the time I finish.” And to this, Dear Abby responded, “And how old will you be in six or so years if you don’t go to medical school?”

The same age.

The clock is one thing we cannot stop, so make the most of ’08.

Whether you’re 17, like my daughter, with a world of opportunities awaiting her, or whether you just turned 40 like me … we’re not getting any younger.

Don’t make it all about you, though. This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode that illustrates how selfish dreams or dreams we have for the wrong reasons can come back to haunt you.

In one episode, Elaine is devastated when a young doctor breaks up with her. She says, “What about my dream of dating a doctor?” And he responds, “I’m sorry, Elaine. I always knew that after I became a doctor, I would dump whoever I was with and find someone better. That’s the dream of becoming a doctor.”

So, as you’re handed opportunities to help make your dreams come true, give some away as well. Help make someone else’s dreams come true.

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo!

Helena Rodriguez is a freelance writer. She can be reached at: