This New Year's, instead of waiting for our government to solve your health care needs, take action and do everything you can to keep yourself and your loved ones well -- and away from doctors and hospitals. So many in our society are already suffering from disease, but for those of you who are healthy -- I urge you to do everything possible to keep yourselves that way!
Eat sensibly, exercise and do those boring but important things that keep you out of harm's way; like washing your hands often during flu season, reducing stress through meditation and yoga, and taking a daily multivitamin. So much of your medical future is within your power to control. Visit the websites of Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Andrew Weil for helpful hints and great lifestyle choices for maintaining optimum health throughout your life. Additionally, RealAge.com can help pinpoint areas in which you need to improve to be as fit or more fit than others your age. The site will also keep you updated with the latest health, diet and fitness tips. Studies show that people who keep a log of their diet and fitness have a better success rate with reaching their goals. You can track your diet and exercise progress on MyCalorieCounter.com.
Instead of waiting for our government to solve the education needs of our society, do everything you can to educate your children and yourselves outside of the classroom. It is about lifelong learning at every age. Online courses are inexpensive and so easy to access that there really is no excuse for people with access to a computer not to take advantage of them. (BTW, if you don't have a computer, your local library does.) Learn another language by purchasing software from Rosetta Stone, or take a course in bookkeeping or real estate at your local community college. Get the math help your child needs at Math.com. And if you want to impact the needs of your local schools, go to DonorsChoose.org ("an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need").
Instead of waiting for our government to solve the energy problems of the world, start doing what you can to keep your carbon footprint in check. There are easy and inexpensive solutions that not only impact the planet, but also favorably impact your pocketbook in a very substantial way. Calculate your carbon footprint -- and learn how to offset it at CarbonFootprint.com, or visit Care2.com for helpful tips. Every day, industry is inventing new ways for us to use less energy in our daily lives, with energy-saving appliances, light bulbs, and new solar panels that are inexpensive and easy to install. Even a simple click of your mouse can help save 11.4 square feet of rain forest.
Instead of waiting for our government to solve the poverty issues in our country and abroad, do what you can to give back. For just a dollar a day, you can help eradicate poverty at 1dollaraday.net. Their slogan is "$1 a day for those living on less than $1/day." Or go to Endpoverty2015.org, where your money can be targeted toward worldwide hunger, child and maternal health, worldwide education, gender equality and more.
If you don't have the money, give of your time to the local food bank, or spend an afternoon at the senior home, where many residents go for months without a visitor. Become a volunteer at your local Red Cross; you'll be amazed by how much good work they do in cities across America. Volunteers are as valuable as dollars in conquering the needs of our struggling planet.
Tragically, our government has become a partisan quagmire. Most of us have lost focus on what the truth is. Talking heads bark their distorted viewpoints at us all day through the media. The din has become so intense that I for one have begun to tune it out. Let's face it: Nothing of any real consequence happens in this country without the support of both parties. Think of the War Crimes Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the original passage of Medicare in 1965. These initiatives passed with overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate. The Health Care bill was voted on strictly along party lines with unfathomable concessions given to certain senators to get their vote.
This is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people -- it is a government of special interests. My hope for change has not dimmed, but my confidence is greatly diminished on effecting change through government intervention.
What are caring, engaged citizens supposed to do? Go for it. Be a government of one and start to make things happen. There's a perfect match for you out there, and now it's easier than ever to find it at VolunteerMatch.org.
Happy New Year. The future is yours!