I surveyed my co-workers over coffee yesterday, asking about their own “year in review.”
We discussed their highlights and hopes for the new year.
Not surprisingly, their responses covered the themes of health, wealth and happiness, the trio we humans often reflect on. Ailments and aches, diagnoses and deaths, mixed with marriages and motherhood, trips and triumphs; a very human and typical concoction.
Wealth in its many forms was discussed, and a dialogue of happiness also appeared. One co-worker gushed feelings of pride over a daughter’s academic achievements, others mentioned outdoor hobbies, church and family, and a silver wedding anniversary — all symbols of contentment and personal joy.
Back to my office I pranced, my head filled with the human experience, when I met face to screen with my work in community health. How would coffee break conversations with my own city go? Would Cranbrook, for instance, say 2011 was a good year filled with health, wealth and happiness? How might we measure and express these for the whole community? What resolutions could be made for a community for the new year and who could play a part in those changes?
I feel the same can be said for Cranbrook — or 100 Mile House, Penticton or any other Interior community for that matter. A community’s happiness can be measured and felt. The new pedestrian crossing for a busy avenue, the quaint new hobby shop on Main Street, the thriving arts council or budding new parent and tot group all contribute to a community’s health. Of course, there may also be roads that need new pavement, a city block that needs revitalizing and a park screaming out to be transformed into a skate haven. But communities have one thing to keep their happiness flowing — citizens, you and me and our neighbours — and the more engaged, active and dynamic we are in community life the more animated and lively our communities can be.
So as 2011 comes to a close and I ponder my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve included community promises as well. I resolve to water my lawn less, shovel for my neighbours more, volunteer time to organizations that need assistance, buy local, attend local events and stay informed about community issues. What’s on your 2012 community resolution list?
Theresa Bartraw is a population health facilitator with Interior Health.