Excuses, excuses, excuses. There seem to be so many of them that bind us to the status quo of doing nothing to change the way we not only do things, but the way we see them, too. We saw this throughout 2017, blaming a haphazard leader in the White House who seems to practically delight in controversy without a cause, and other elected officials who seem only to conform to political ideology with reasons why we can’t do something.  The fact that so few people but the president are willing to shake things up speaks volumes about our complacency. To that we say, stop choosing the easiest path and realize that there is no box by which to limit our thinking.  

While 2017 showed us how we can pull together in times of frustration and despondency, 2018 should be the time when great leaders emerge. In Ventura County, seats on local councils, special districts, at the county, state and federal levels will be up for election and re-election. Certainly, some elected officials are worthy of re-election, but locals who are inspired to run and have been inspired by others, especially with Oxnard and Ventura voting by districts this year, have a great opportunity to shine. Those who have consistently demonstrated a passion for justice and a desire to reach higher office deserve our support. Even if the chance of loss seems great, what do you really have to lose by trying? And what happens if you win? The time is now to realize that taking a chance is worth the risk.

When it comes to our own personal lives, there seems to be a common theme of great reluctance to take big leaps to achieve our goals. From the local business owner to the unhappily wedded, it seems that we would rather stay within our so-called “comfort” zone and just wait for something else to happen to shake up our lives. So we perpetuate the misery and fear of change by sticking to the same story. But what if we started to think about what would make us happy? What would better communication and honesty mean? What would better networking off social media mean for our futures? Why don’t we, especially the younger generation, believe that the future is ours for the taking?

If there was one thing that overshadowed 2017 it would be the fear of uncertainty. The worst thing that happened was, our fear caused and perpetuated great division. The best thing was, we, for the most part, survived. And we can all do a little bit better than just surviving. 2018 is the year we should step out of comfort zones and plan logically how to improve our lives instead of just complaining about our frustrations or defaulting to the idea that nothing can really change. It’s simply not true.

Moving into 2018, do something different. Stop making excuses for not pursuing the dreams you have. Take a chance on putting yourself out there and aiming for higher, loftier goals and actually going after them. And whatever you do, don’t give up.