independent

Thursday 21 August 2014

A glimmer of hope for 2013...

MARIAN HARKIN

Published 15/01/2013 | 10:57

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LAST YEAR I promised I would try to be realistic/optimistic rather than realistic/pessimistic. Like all good New Year resolutions I sometimes slipped but I did try to see the glass as half full rather than as half empty.

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This year I want to try and build on that, partly because I know – in fact I absolutely know – it's the better pathway but also because my own mood is a little more optimistic anyway.

While I can't really put my finger on the glimmer of hope that I sense, for some reason I believe 2013 has the potential to be a year when we get more clarity and we begin to see the shape of things to come.

My sense of foreboding has receded somewhat to be replaced by a type of gritty realisation that we are slowly regaining some control over our own situation here in Ireland. I don't see it as the promised land but I'm no longer staring at a wasteland. In a way I feel the ground is more solid under our feet.

At this time of year our minds focus on the future – the New Year 2013. A new year brings with it a sense of promise, of hope, of positive beginnings. As we discard the old we look to the new.

This time last year I remember recommending a book written by a Sligo woman Maureen Gaffney, entitled 'Flourishing'. It's a realistic, optimistic roadmap for the future and one year later my recommendation is even stronger.

Many of you will have heard Maureen over the last 12 months on the TV and radio and been impressed by her informed, optimistic and common sense approach. One year later I will say what I said 12 months ago, beg, borrow, steal or buy her book. Read it and keep it within reach, it's a worthy companion for 2013.

Maureen offers solid advice and practical steps to motivate and guide you. Her final chapter 'In Praise of Optimism' draws it all together. "Look for what is going right even when things are going wrong", she tells us. "Practice looking forward to good things," is one of the most life fulfilling suggestions I have ever heard – just think, you can practice what can make you feel better.

"Embrace your fate and choose your future," lets us see that the current circumstances of our lives do not predetermine our future situation.

Yes I know it sounds like some kind of new year hype – the magazine headline that promises to make you two stone lighter by February 1st – but take my word, it isn't.

Women understand recipes – so does Maureen. This book is at its simplest and at its most profound a recipe for managing change, for squeezing the very best out of your life.

Maureen nails it when she says: "In this world the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive. Being positive is the way of achievement, correction, improvement and success," – the perfect recipe. Enjoy and I hope my gut feeling about 2013 proves to be correct.

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