Happy New Year, Wyoming!

Happy New Year to you. I don’t want to jinx it, so I’m just going to leave it at that. I’m not saying anything bad about the old year, or hoping the new one will be better, because that’s often backfired on me. So Happy New Year.

I’ve cussed out the old year as we’ve ushered new years in, but the new year turned out to be just as bad – or maybe even worse – than the previous year. I’ve tried to simply welcome the new year, thinking that would get me on Father Time’s good side. But that didn’t work, either.

So this time around, I’m just going to wish you a happy New Year. I hope your job is enjoyable and stable, and I hope you have enough vacation time to get out for some late-season waterfowl hunts, then have plenty left over for a long elk hunt in the fall. And in between, I hope you get plenty of time to wet a line on the river or lake, whichever is your preference.

I hope you get plenty of time to practice with your rifle, shotgun and bow, and that you get better every time you venture out to the range. And when you’re done shooting for the day, I hope cleaning those firearms is quick and easy.

I hope the economy settles down, and prices on trucks and four-wheel-drives come down to something resembling reasonable, so if you’re looking for a new ride to get you into the mountains, you’ll be able to do it without having to sell a kidney. And I hope fuel prices come down and stay down, so you’ll be able to actually put some gas or diesel in that ride without selling the other kidney.

And I hope we can all look back on the previous year and recall more than a few good things that happened. Maybe I’m just getting to be a cranky old man, but I find myself dwelling on the negative and not celebrating the positive near enough. Yeah, we keep running up against new challenges and bigger problems, it seems, year after year. But between the calamities, there are always moments of awe and wonder. I’m doing my best to focus on those. I hope you’re able to do the same.

And as we embark on this fresh new year, I think the more we all focus on the positive, the more change we can make for the better. Sure, we’re going to have to get down in the dirt and work on those negative things that need to be fixed, but we can do that without losing hope or spiraling down into a blue funk if we pay attention to the bright spots and happy moments along the way. Celebrate the victories, even if they’re small. Thank those who lend a helping hand. And smile more.

One good way to make sure we can focus on the positive is by getting outside at every available opportunity. Go hunting. Go fishing. Go camping. Or just take a long walk outside. Immerse yourself in nature as often as you can.

Here’s hoping you can do that this year. As we embark on a new set of calendar pages, I wish you ample vacation time, great odds in the limited quota hunting license draws, and good health to allow you to put it all to good use. Happy New Year, Wyoming.