One of the best measuring sticks I have to keep track of how quickly time goes each year is my collection of daily devotionals and reflections.
I have a collection between my home and my office that start my day, keep me somewhat grounded during the day at work and help me close my evening before the lights go out.
The books begin to seem worn by the end of December. But then, in January as I begin them again on page one, I am amazed at how much I still need to learn (do I ever!) and how relevant those words are regardless of the passing of time.
One of my nonreligious-based selections is from the Stoics and starts each year off with a selection of Marcus Aurelius. The Roman emperor was on the road for most of his reign and wrote advice to himself as if writing to a friend or mentee to remind himself of life principles. He reminds the reader to keep an “attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.”
This idea is not original, of course. It is also represented in scripture-based devotions. Yet, I was struck at the simplicity of it; the difficulty of living it, the joy we can have if we have gratitude for what comes our way. That joy can relate to fulfillment in our professional or work life. It was a perfect reading to start 2019.
This present moment, our community has great opportunity and momentum. We have historic growth in our downtown and expansive growth in our 54 Corridor. We ended the year with tremendous traction in infrastructure and transportation with interstate shields and surprise funding to accelerate projects that once were considered long-term dreams. Across the community, we have committed people leading in all areas.
Our population and our wage growth are gaining numbers, which is opposite of communities like ours around the country. Owensboro was recognized in scores of national rankings this year all across the spectrum, from manufacturing to millennial recruitment, from transportation to education.
We also have challenges. But those challenges are opportunities. Our workforce shortage in many areas can translate into opportunities for partnerships with our local schools and colleges, which would lead to more economic growth. We still have access issues. Our technology infrastructure needs upgrading, but OMU is seizing this challenging and creating opportunities. This year, we will continue to discuss these challenges and how, as a community, we can address them together. We have momentum.
We need to keep working, identify opportunities and have gratitude.