As 2019 rapidly comes to a close it’s natural to take a few minutes to reflect on the past year. If your year was anything like mine it flew by in what felt like the blink of an eye. Seasons changed, snow melted, the days got longer, kids returned to school, the summer sun waned, and now the winter holidays are upon us. I’ve learned a lot in 2019 and am thankful for the lessons it brought.
2019 taught me that there is an unmatched joy in new beginnings. We welcomed a baby girl in March more than a decade after her brothers were born. Our family of four became a family of five and we quickly adapted to life with an infant. We marveled at her early coos, celebrated the first time she rolled over, adjusted to a baby’s schedule, and watched as she quickly learned that her big brothers were head over heels in love with her. The joy she brings is indescribable; she is everything we never knew we needed.
2019 taught me that persistence pays off. The failed bond attempts of the Peninsula School District loomed large this year as we undertook another attempt at securing funds for new buildings. Lessons learned in previous years helped campaign leadership adjust their strategy this year to best meet the priorities of the local community. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of voters proved that staying in the fight was key to achieving a victory that will benefit our community for many years to come.
2019 taught me that our country’s institutions are built to last. A quick scan of cable news will show you that our country is at an undeniable crossroads. The partisan divide seems to be getting bigger by the day and it’s not surprising many are questioning what this divide will do to our democracy. Our institutions have been tested and they’ve proven to be steadfast, much like the founding fathers envisioned nearly 250 years ago. As citizens it is our responsibility to hold our government accountable and insist that it works in a way that best serves the entire population and not just partisan pandering.
2019 taught me that I have a responsibility to find ways to communicate with those I disagree with. It’s not a secret that I have strongly held beliefs that shape my priorities, decisions and the ways in which I interact with others. Engaging in conversation with like-minded individuals is easy. I prefer the affirming comments, agreeable head nods and identification of shared values. Having effective conversations with those I disagree with often feels much different. As a society we must find ways to learn from those we disagree with instead of demonizing them and assuming our own personal beliefs are under attack. I have a responsibility to do my part in having these conversations in a healthy and productive manner.
As I look forward to 2020, I’m excited about what the year will hold for my family, my community, and my country. I know that the coming year holds promise and potential and I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.
Meredith Browand is a mother and an activist who lives in Purdy.