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Instead of my annual New Year's Eve tradition of taking stock of my life and resolving to do things differently in the coming year, I'd like to start 2006 (or, 2549 by the Thai calendar) by expressing a few wishes.

Personally, I feel I have a great amount of happiness and good fortune - enough to keep me satisfied at any rate. I do believe that each person has the means to control their own destiny and that the various obstacles to finding the path to your own contentment can be conquered once you realize that there is no need to let anything wear you down. There will always be things that you have no control over; it's the attitude you approach these difficulties with that determines how you make it through. For some people, it's their faith in a higher being that gets them through. It's different for everyone and largely determined by how you were brought up and how you sift through your external influences.

The Thai people have an expression which is used at any sign of misunderstanding or difficulty. "Mai pen rai", loosely meaning "no problem", "never mind" or "it can't be helped" is the verbal equivalent of an open-handed shoulder shrug which has it's base in the Buddhist notion of karma. I think this has been the philosophy I've slowly been moving towards for the past couple of years or so. I've been trying to let problems - big or small - just roll off my back because, in the long run, they really don't matter. And it certainly makes me feel good when I can get to the other side of a difficulty with success and happiness.

Now that I've tried to explain my world-view, perhaps these wishes I have for the New Year will resonate differently:

I wish NOTHING for myself directly. I wish that there be fewer deaths among the world population in 2006 - less natural events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc taking lives; less acts of war, torture, crimes, etc resulting in needless deaths; I wish for a contiuation of the efforts begun last year through the One Campaign, the G8, and Make Poverty History to rid the world of hunger through poverty; I'd like to see greater communication and cooperation among peoples of differing ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds; in short, I'd like to see everyone just get along and accept each other as a fellow human being instead of getting upset over differnces of opinion.

That's not too much to wish for, is it?

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