Counting Our Blessings in 2013: What Will You Do With Yours?

With gratitude for the time that has passed, I cannot help but ponder over what is most important as we enter into the New Year, and therefore a new chapter in our lives. The dramatic triumphs and unexpected tragedies that marked 2012 remind me that this road is not an easy one and our journey is not without challenges, but we must be grateful for the brilliant successes, amazing comebacks, and impactful ideas that often materialized when we least expected and which exceeded our expectations in ways that continue to give us hope.

Over the last 12 months, I found that the more unthinkable the events unfolded around us, the louder the call became to not take being here for granted. Counting backwards from the most recent tragedy to shake our nation, I was visiting my hometown of Rochester, NY when news broke of the Webster Firefighter Shooting on Christmas Eve. While each of the shootings that crossed our nation over the last year touched my heart, this one literally hit closest to home ... 10 minutes from home to be exact, and brought with it the reality that it can truly be anyone, anyplace, and at any hour that life changes so drastically.

Was there a way for any of the parents dropping their children off for another school day at Sandy Hook Elementary to foresee the unforeseeable? What more could the families of Seaside Heights, NJ or Far Rockaway, NY have done in preparation for the upheaval that Superstorm Sandy brought to their very livelihoods? Would it have been possible for a couple deciding to take in a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises to contemplate that they would not make it back home that evening? Could the parents of Trayvon Martin have known that moment would be the last time they would see their son alive? In all of these circumstances, and in for each of us facing our own personal triumphs and tragedies, there is still gratitude, a life with purpose, and blessings.

Many will question how can we be grateful in the midst of these heartbreaking catastrophes? To have a purposeful outlook where there is hurt and pain? It will not be easy. My own experiences tell me that. The journey of living in the aftermath of life-altering natural disasters and witnessing the fight against AIDS is a reminder. But finding gratitude in even the most heinous of circumstances is healing. To see our blessings is to set in motion the course of action meant for our purpose in life. It is believing that everything does happen for a reason whether or not we agree with it, and that there is a point whether we can see it at the time or not.

In allowing life's journey of triumphs and tragedies to inspire gratitude in us despite which side of the coin is facing up, we accept the blessing in still being here and that our work is not finished. It lends to not taking for granted a single moment that we are on this Earth, where time is our most precious commodity. It is about giving more time to the people who are most important in our lives, and spending more time bringing our dreams into fruition. It is recognizing that giving back to others is the greatest reward that life gives us, and it is about realizing our purpose.

Where I am grateful, I will take this moment to say thank you to everyone to who contributed to what has been a year of triumphs for me, my friends and family, for Human Intonation, and for the work of our Non-profit Partners. Tragedies of yesterday have become blessings as I include here my thank you to the Huffington Post family for embracing me this year, and we look forward to more to come.

At last, 2012 has indeed been a year of spellbinding paradox. As we work toward finding gratitude in each triumph and tragedy, it is with whom and with what purpose we spend our time going forward that is telling. We each have received a blessing to see 2013. What will you do with yours?