Community Resolution

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December 29, 2010
By: By Echo Brooks/TRT Online columnist

The New Year is upon us. After the friends, family and festivities diminish, we are usually left with a lot to reflect upon. Traditionally we will be coming up with our New Year’s resolutions. Our community seems to have the same resolutions as any other community. Should I save money, smoke less, continue my education, or workout more? Typically our desire is to better ourselves in some way. Also typical is how we perceive that desire; making change. Lifestyle changes that promote health and well being are always good options, and most likely the ones we will choose. It would be nice if we could find ways to help promote the well being of others too.

Thinking outside the conventional box this New Year is what I plan to do. The changes I plan to make are both self serving and community serving. I am vowing to look a little deeper at how my actions can help the community, even if just a small piece of it. This year I want to take my opinions and passions and develop a way to use them for the greater good, not just as venting tools. And while I appreciate those that can already relate to my words and feelings, I want something bigger.

This year has taken us down some life altering roads. We have seen the devastation the media and technology has caused us, but also the way it has opened up paths to people less accessible previously. We have seen both victory and defeat by way of politics and law. We have shared joy and tears with each other and banded together in mourning and activism. I have personally ingested a lot more than any other time in my life. I have learned more about me, acceptance for who I am, and an appreciation for others I may have overlooked before.

Being an opinion writer, I sometimes take for granted that my inspiration comes from other’s experiences. I can’t possibly have an opinion unless I have something to base it on. The world around me, taking place, is what I talk about. If I can talk about how it affects me, then I should be able to encourage others to tell their stories. Sharing is a powerful tool. Encouraging people to share is a specialty I am not so sure I possess, but hope to find. I think a lot about my teenage years, full of sadness and suicidal thoughts. If someone, anyone, would have given me a safe place to feel, I would have shared my misery in a minute. I am fortunate in the fact that I got past that time in my life, albeit very difficult. As we have seen in abundance this year not everyone is so fortunate. I feel the need to reach out to those struggling; to offer a sounding board, an ear, advice or referral.

This year my resolution is to take care of myself, take care of those I love, and to find a way to help others take care of themselves.

Echo resides in northern New Jersey with her wife and the two youngest of their five children. You can visit her blog at or send comments and questions to

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