Positively moving forward into 2023

While most of us will not have an opportunity to change the world, looking for, and doing, good can make it better for those with whom we come in contact.

The sun rises over a snowy field.
The sun rises on a new day and, with it, hope for the future.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

I’m determined that 2023 will be a positive year.

No, I’m not a Polly Anna who lives in a world of sweetness and light, I’ve experienced enough loss, cancer diagnoses and mental health challenges in my personal and family life. I've seen too much video and read too many news reports of violence, death and destruction in the world, at large for that.

However, there’s a difference between being aware of the dark side of life — and sometimes experiencing it — and wallowing in it. From my perspective, excessively dwelling on what’s wrong, besides making us discouraged, keeps us from moving forward and has a ripple effect on those around us.

Ann Bailey Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

But just as negativity is contagious, so is the opposite. Whenever I get together with friends who have positive attitudes, I feel inspired to follow their examples. The same goes for witnessing or receiving acts of kindness – they make me want to do something similar for someone else.

While most of us will not have an opportunity to change the world, looking for, and doing, good can make it better for those with whom we come in contact.


I don’t have to rack my brain to come up with a list of the wonderful people in my life. Besides my husband, children and our extended families, I have incredible neighbors who are ready to help whenever they are asked for assistance, whether it is blowing snow out of our farmstead yard, taking care of our pets when we’re on vacation or rescuing me from being stuck in the ditch miles from my house.

My rural community, as a whole, is also ready to help out their neighbors when it's needed. Fundraisers for people with medical expenses, hosting after-funeral service meals for the families and friends of the deceased and farmers helping harvest crops of families who have encountered a hardship are common where I live. I know that the same things are part of life across rural America.

Read more from Bailey's "Hazen Brook Reflections"

Contrary to what we, in this part of the world, might think, those expressions of kindness aren’t only happening in rural America, either. I’ve frequently been the recipient of caring and concern in large cities from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles, to most recently Austin, Texas, where I took a tumble after stumbling over a street corner curb.

As I was picking myself up, my cheeks red with embarrassment, I made eye contact with several people who were living in the city park adjacent to where I fell, and instead of seeing amusement in their eyes, I saw concern.

Not only did they communicate that by the expressions on their faces, but also verbally as they asked me if I was all right. I assured them that, despite what my fall looked like, I was OK. Their concerned look then changed to one of relief and they bid me a good day.

Of course, looking on the bright side won’t stop bad things from happening to me or to those I love. The key for me is to take the negative in life in stride, knowing that this is a fallen world. Hardship is a part of life on Earth and I don’t expect to live the rest of mine without it.

My Catholic faith tells me to bear the crosses I carry with courage. I want to live my life looking for the good and doing my best to make a positive difference in the life of others.

I’m optimistically going into 2023 with that as my goal.


Ann Bailey lives on a farmstead near Larimore, N.D., that has been in her family since 1911. You can reach her at 218-779-8093 or

Opinion by Ann Bailey
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
What To Read Next
Get Local