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It’s time to say good-bye to 2011 and usher in 2012 with open arms! Talk to most anyone and they’ll say 2011 was a bad year. I too had a rough one. Unemployed for four months, I am extremely grateful to be working again.

It’s your choice whether to be optimistic or pessimistic when the calendar rolls forward into the New Year.

A pessimist has many reasons to doubt that 2012 will be a better year. With Europe slipping into a recession, unemployment rates suspected to remain at 9%, small businesses not intending to hire in the New Year, the U.S. Postal Service plans to lay off 120,000 workers, along with Sears and K-Mart closing up to 120 stores, credit cards are maxed out, well you can see where this is going.

On the other hand, if you’re an optimist you could say we’ve pulled out of Iraq and our service men and women are home! The unemployed are finding work; seven people were hired at the small business where I work alone! Huge gains were made for gay civil rights. The government heard our voices of dissatisfaction with Wall Street and the bailouts, and the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule came to an end, and the world became empowered together.

Another thing most people like to do for the New Year is to make a New Year’s Resolution or two. Unfortunately, if we set the bar too high, we make ourselves feel even worse when we fail. I suggest making manageable resolutions that you can really achieve. So, instead of vowing to quit smoking, drinking and lose fifty pounds, try cutting back on the first two and take a walk around the block every day. The satisfaction is enormous when you feel like you’ve really done it. We all have good intentions, but come on.

For myself, I choose to be optimistic and believe that 2012 will be a happy, healthy and prosperous year, and hope the same for all of you.