New Year, New Outlook on Life

New Year, New Outlook on Life

A new year calls for new beginnings.


Every year begins with everyone trying to go along with the "New Year, New Me" motto. Some end up forgoing it the second the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on January 1st. This year, I'm making a promise to myself to try and have a more positive outlook on life. Hopefully, I can stick with it throughout the year.

Over the past couple years, I would always have the worst outlook on what the new year would bring. I was so indulged in a dark place in life that I wasn't even looking forward to the future. This year, I'm going to remember what matters most in life, and focus all of my energy on that.

Family and friends are two of the most important things in having a happy life. I haven't always been a family person, but this year I am going to make more time for them and learn to appreciate everything they do for me. I am also going to try and rebuild some friendships that were lost along the way.

School will be the number one priority for this year. I will stop looking at every little assignment or project with the mindset that I am going to fail. Everyone should put school as their number one focus to receive the best possible result from it. Doing better in school for this year will help once the time to graduate arrives. It can be stressful, but every person can get through it.

Friends, and even family, are easy to lose contact with. This year, remember that friendships of all kinds are a two-way street. If you come out of contact with someone, don't wait around for them to come to you. Take the first step into rekindling a friendship and picking up right where you left off. Having these friendships and good relationships with others in general will make your year filled with endless happiness and laughter. Here's to 2019!

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.

Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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In Florida, January Is The Season Of Daisies

While studying at a park, wild daisies caught my eye.


Growing up in Chicago, I never imagined seeing flowers in the middle of winter. In Florida, it's a different story. Flowers can be found year-round, including the winter. In the winter months, wildflowers bloom, flowers that you might typically find in the late summer or early autumn in other parts of the country. The milder weather allows for such flowers to grow.

With the 70-degree weather, I chose to take my studies outside to the local park. I sit under a pavilion along a lake. The cool breeze blows off the lake, rustles the palms, and blows through the pavilion. I sit with my back to the sun soaking in its warmth. Occasionally I lift my head and look around. I'm surrounded by beauty. Blue skies hold fluffy white clouds that float past.

The occasional osprey circles the lake calling with its high-pitched shout, sometimes another osprey calls in response. I watch the deep blue lake waters ripple and blow in mini waves towards the grassy shore.

Hidden in the grasses wildflowers blow in the wind. My favorite flower, I can spot it from 50 feet away, daisies. They line the shore, hundreds of them dancing in the breeze. I don't remember them being there a week before. It's January and new flowers are blooming.

I return my focus to my studies but cannot wait to see the daisies. I read some more. A young man walks past and picks up a few pieces of trash with a claw and places them in the can. He says hi, I say hi and continue reading. Moments past and I hear a laugh come from the other end of the pavilion. The young man must have found a bubble wand. He's holding the wand and watching the bubbles float away at 10, 15 miles an hour. They fly over the grass and past palms, and across the parking lot.

Bubbles float past me and I can't help but smile as I return my focus to my studies. Still, I'm intriguing I can't help but look up a few times and watch. I'm glad that man can still enjoy life like a kid. That he can find bubbles that make him smile and laugh. I overhear him texting a friend. He's here for community service. But still, he makes it fun. He continues around the pavilion blowing bubbles for another 10 minutes or more, laughing and smiling as everyone should.

Bubbles, parks, wildflowers they all remind us to be children again. I finish my studies, but before I leave I must see the daisies. I approach the lake and they are even more spectacular than I thought. I sit down, at their level. They shine white, vibrant in the sun and dance wildly in the breeze. There's a whole line of them along the lake, as far as the eye can see.

I can't help but smile with the sunshine, the daisies, the man playing with bubbles. It's hard to leave such beauty. But I'll remember the wild daisies that bloom in January and will enjoy them as long as they are here.

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