Winners in the lottery of life are those lucky enough to be born in Australia – the next category belongs to those fortunate enough to make Australia their home.
Our geographic location as a Pacific Rim nation; an abundance of natural resources; a parliamentary democracy; a free enterprise economy; an egalitarian society based on Christian values; our temperate weather; and our social welfare systems combine to make us the envy of the troubled world we live in.
We have freedom, fresh air, clean water, breathtaking landscapes and the opportunity to be whatever we want to become and do whatever we want to do. All we have to do is set our goals, study, commit to hard work and go for it.
The year ahead will therefore be whatever we want it to be – and the outcomes we experience will reflect the choices we make.
Our physical health will depend on decisions we make in regard to the food we eat and the amount of exercise we do.
Our mental wellbeing will depend on the books we read, the programs we watch and the self-improvement courses we attend.
Our financial situation will depend on how hard we work, how we invest and whether we choose to save or spend.
Our family situation will depend on the degree of love and respect we show to parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
The state of our psychological wellbeing will depend on whether we choose to live by our inherited Christian values or live on the fringe.
There will certainly be no shortage of things to whinge about in 2012.
The potential for another global financial crisis; the nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea; the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan; likely war in the Middle East; corrupt dictatorships in Africa; creeping communism in the form of enviro-evangelism and a host of others.
Closer to home we have illegal immigrants; drive-by shootings, skyrocketing electricity prices; the carbon tax; politicians, fat cats, celebrities and a host of negative things to whine about.
The common thread about the negative events that will dominate our conversations in 2012 is that, whilst they are certainly within our circle of concern, none are within our circle of influence – until the next election!
In the meantime we should focus on the issues that we do have influence over – our health, our education, our families, our jobs and our local communities. These we can control, and if we do, 2012 will be a great year.