There’s no question, the last two years have been challenging, possibly the most challenging many of us have experienced during our lifetimes. But, a new year is here, and as a community, as a nation, and as a world – we embrace a fresh start with hope for the new year.  Positively Osceola asked a number of positive leaders in the community to share their hope and their plans for the new year, and how we can encourage and support each other in 2022.  We asked Bill Sturgeon, City Manager with the City of St. Cloud, to share his hope and outlook for 2022.

Remember a year ago when we were all so excited to leave 2020 in the rearview, and charge headlong into 2021 leaving COVID-19 behind us? Yet here we are at the dawn of 2022 with a new variant spreading throughout our communities, bringing back masks, wreaking havoc on the nation’s airports over the holidays, causing businesses to close temporarily for staffing issues, and spawning lines stretching for blocks at testing sites. It can all look pretty dour and bleak.

I choose to focus on the positive. Life tends to be a series of two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes it seems to be one step forward and two steps back. We tend to romanticize the past and fondly remember “the good ol’ days.” But if we’re honest, every year has both good and bad. Acknowledge the bad, but focus on the good.

There will always be challenges to face, regardless of what stage of life you’re in. We need to practice embracing change instead of resisting it. Understand that change is a part of life, and it’s not going away. Just as water that’s not moving stagnates, so it is with us as people and also our communities.

The 1998 New York Times bestselling allegory book Who Moved My Cheese features four characters looking for cheese (happiness). It’s a short story, an easy read, and has a powerful message that is just as applicable today as when it was written. Learning to adapt to a changing environment will greatly improve your mental health and your level of happiness. Rather than pine for the “good ol’ days,” embrace the change around you, see the good that it brings, and look forward to the new opportunities for growth, new experiences, and new knowledge. As the character Haw notes in Who Moved My Cheese, “the quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.”

Bill Sturgeon

City Manager, City of St. Cloud Florida