Let’s continue to embrace this good life every day, and look forward to 2017 with hope, excitement and curiosity. ANNIE YOUNG

Peggy Toney Horton said: “Each New Year, we have before us a brand new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year—the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer.” 

Once again I buy a diary to fill in all the regular commitments, the spots I can’t and don’t want to miss.

I scribble quotes and sayings over dates and pages; jot down odd songs I want to hear again, an idea for another column, a note about an event I want to attend.

My diary begins to resemble a dog’s dinner long before I have reached June, so full is it of busyness and reminders.

Family birthdays are diligently entered, events Rob and I plan to attend, plays and films I hope to see, the monthly Bendigo Writers Council workshops, the book clubs which have always been a basis for great friendship and stimulating discussions on a variety of books; concerts at the Capital and Ulumbarra, the Writers Festival in August.

With our children now parents themselves, we no longer have a diary full of sporting and other commitments around family.

The list is endless. Some I know I will attend, others are a wish list of ‘might’ or ‘perhaps’.

There is still time for family and friends, time to read great books, time to write.

Val Broad OAM, artistic director of the Bendigo Youth Choir, maintains she is going to wear out, not rust out. Great philosophy Val.

I look back on my column of a year ago. I wrote of wishes for the year ahead, but sadly find many still unfulfilled.

The refugees are still on Nauru and Manus Islands.

Malcolm Turnbull who began with such high hopes has turned into a soufflé, all puff and no substance.

Syria is more violent and bloody than ever, with no future and no end to that bitter conflict yet in sight; lines of desperate refugees everywhere in Europe.... and we have a frightening image of a new United States president-elect who may yet lead us into paths we cannot imagine, alliances previously unheard of.

Terrorism at home and abroad hovers above us.

The world no longer such a safe place anymore.

However, there are also many positives, and those we embrace with relish.

Within in our own community we have many unpaid contributors who help make this city we live in the great place it is.  

Our hospitals have a team of volunteers who reliably front up every week to give support to patients. We salute our volunteer firefighters, our many unpaid coaches of sporting teams, the carers of the disabled and elderly; so many volunteer jobs I simply cannot name them all, but together they represent the very best of our community.

Without our volunteers we would be a much poorer community in every way.

I read this week that the age where we are the happiest in life is the seventies, and that I can’t argue with. According to a very large study recently published we appear to have reached a level of contentment with our lives, and have sufficient energy to throw ourselves into a variety of interests and volunteering we were unable to participate in when in the workforce.

Let’s continue to embrace this good life every day, and look forward to 2017 with hope, excitement and curiosity.  

Happy New Year readers all.