Cynthia A. Bond Hopson, Ph.D.

“When I was 17, it was a very good year … for small town girls…But now the
days are short, I’m in the autumn of the year, and I think of my life as vintage
wine…” Ervin Drake

Ah, the beauty of a new year and the privilege of growing old…

As 2022 ends, 2023 steps forth to etch its experiences into eternity, it’s
important to reflect on the 364.5 days we’ve just traveled. A new year is like
moving—you choose what to keep and what can be left behind without regret.

As I watch TV westerns, we see dreamers headed West with a wagonload of
stuff, bright eyed and full of wonder. Much of the “stuff” gets left along the trail
as they shed unnecessary things so they can complete the journey, and so we
should too.

As 2023 looms, let’s take a moment –not to make resolutions that will be
forgotten before the ball drops Sunday–but to do some soul searching about
who we are and why that matters.

First, we are a nation of immigrants—some are here by choice, others were
horribly and forcibly brought, but we’re all here today, fueled by a thirst for
self-determination and an opportunity to live in peace and with dignity. We
deserve to be treated equitably and humanely, so we must insist on getting
our immigration system fixed. Rounding people up, putting them on buses, or
leaving them outside in the cold is not a plan.

With an earlier mass expulsion of thousands of immigrants, the “dirty” work
that many of them did is going undone. In almost every restaurant the “Help
Wanted” signs greet us and serve as an excuse for long waits and poor service.
While it may be true that some “people don’t want to work,” when you look at
the effects of millions of COVID deaths, coupled with the number of
undocumented workers who were rounded up and sent home, there are fewer
workers available—all the more reason to FIX immigration so families can
reunite and people who want to work can.

Second, I’ve never lived in a society where everybody loves everybody but the
hate, discord, and intolerance for difference that is percolating around the
world is an urgent reminder that nations divided or built on lies and deceit
cannot stand.

As the January 6th Commission’s work winds down, in this 800-page report we
see conspiracy, lies, and intimidation—everything but a peaceful transfer of
power. Some of it was downright scary. Whether you think it was partisan
politics, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, please decide for
yourself rather than trust the pundits.

Third, I watched every possible moment of the coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s
death. I’ve watched all the weddings and Harry and Meghan’s was my favorite.
I love Royals and I have no shame, (blame Cinderella) however, I didn’t watch
the miniseries or whatever they called it, where my favorites tell all. I don’t
want or need to know all. Please leave me to my happily ever after illusions.

Finally, please remember it’s not what we say but what we do all day that
matters. We can touch hearts, transform spaces and lives, move the needle.
Every day we see youngsters who take their birthday money and buy toys for
peers, neighbors helping neighbors pick up the pieces–it’s who we are. It’s
what we do. We join our hands and hearts. Together we make the difference.

Let’s make 2023 another very good year. Better yet, let’s make 2023 our best
one yet.

Cynthia A. Bond Hopson, Ph.D. is a Best selling author, inspirational speaker and podcast host.