Column: 2019....A year of challenges

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Our columnist John Griff says 2019 is set to present us with some unique challenges...

We are into that bizarre period between one global celebration and another. Did you blink?

Have you started the clear up from Christmas morning, or will you wait until next year?!

I have always found the days between Christmas and the New Year to be somewhat strange. For many it is just the continuation of a holiday which began anything up to a week ago. For some it is a chance to get away on holiday to recover from the excesses of Christmas itself.

For others it is an opportunity to head back to the office in order to prepare for the New Year and find some kind of respite from the pressures which tend to surface during close association with the extended family.

Which scenario applies to you?

The last time I had this particular inter-celebrational week off was when I was a student.

Truly, I cannot recall taking this part of the year off in my working life. For some, of course, the festive season is not a period of relaxation.

Grateful thanks go to those who work while everyone else rests.

I don’t mean only the bluelight services either. Shops have reopened, petrol stations never closed and innumerable hotels and businesses ensured that the wheels of service kept turning.

In my own industry too the work has continued. The office might have seemed emptier than usual, but the appetite of the beast for information and stories never lessens, whatever the season.

So what now, as we look either back over the year that has been, or forward to the year which is approaching?

Next year will surely go down as being historic and for one primary reason that all can see coming up over the horizon.

My generation is the one which grew up being part of Europe in a way that previously Britain had never been.

We will be the ones closing the book on that particular chapter of history and handing over to a new generation. What introduction will we give it as Brexit finally happens?

Whether you are a serial resolution maker at this time of the year or not, I think the final turn into 2019 offers us all a singular challenge, or an opportunity.

Will we be active participants in the new year when it arrives next week, or spectators on the sidelines? I was once taught a very good lesson by somebody trying to recruit me to their union.

“You don’t have to be a member to be a beneficiary of whatever deal is negotiated on your behalf, but you have no grounds for complaint if you don’t like that deal when it finally comes if you’ve not contributed to the discussion by being a part of it,” he said.

The same is true of any community decision, however wide or narrow the definition of the word “community”. It is that aspect of participation that we now all face a challenge from, and I don’t mean solely in terms of politics with a capital P.

For me, active participation means taking an interest in our local communities and everything that each brings to the party for the common good.

It means first putting something in if we wish to take something out.

After the arrival of the new calendar year, we will, in a few months’ time, see the arrival of the new financial year and that in turn will bring its own challenges, particularly here in this county.

Enjoy the twilight of 2018 because the full glare of 2019’s dawn is about to light us all up.