today is the day when it's really the first of the new year. january 1 is really just the official end of the holiday season and folks are partying- or recovering as the case may be. no, today is the day when the new year officially begins. back to work or school- and back to reality with a vengeance. all of that work we let slide because 'hey, it's the holidays' had piled up and now, the longest month of the year- we get to slog through it. i say it a bit tongue in cheek- but really, for me, january has always been the longest month of the year. nothing to look forward to except really cold weather. what i never really realized about january is- it's a good reflection month. i mean what else does one do in january? i took my car to be inspected today- at a local shop i have frequented for years. it boggles my mind why- you would want to go to a chain to have work done. the man who owns the shop has owned it for years and not only knows his customers by name- but usually knows what they drive. his employees are like family and so are his customers. we know that he has had some major health problems in 2007 and that he won't have the shop forever. which makes me sad. it's not a big money making venture for sure- if he makes much profit- i would be surprised. but on his walls are pictures of his community involvement and local folks put business cards and samples around in the waiting room. the reason folks go there is because he is reputable. he doesn't cheat you and he shows and explains things. he will also give you a ride home and pick you up if you aren't able to wait for your car. tell me meinke would do that.
anyway, i guess the point of the ramble is- we can make a difference in our own communities. we can frequent local establishments and support our fellow 'townies'- the reason that the chains are everywhere- people go there. if we stopped going there, the local businesses wouldn't go out of business. it just takes a bit of effort on our part. the folks of ithaca, ny fought having a wal-mart open near their downtown commons area because it is full of neat little shops and is indeed charming. people go from miles around to window shop- and you usually find something that you like. wal-mart did build- but a few miles away on the way out of town- and- it isn't a superstore. this can be a year of change- on a world stage or just in our own lives. the only one we have complete control over- is our own lives. let's take our lives back. let's think long term investments instead of cheap instant gratification. we continue to spend millions of dollars a year anyway- let's get our money's worth. just a thought.