A new year is right around the corner, a symbolic fresh start as we turn the page to new chapters in life.

The past 12 months have been eventful but not earth-shaking in our communities.....but when you step back and think about it, isn’t any 12-month chunk of time bound to be eventful?

A year is one of the milestones by which we chart our lives, so I guess that it is also a measure of time well-suited to re-visit our goals, priorities, wishes and hopes.

It is the culmination of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and months.....all of which add up to one full trip around the sun, and then we start all over again.

We measure much in years....how long we have been alive, how long we have been married, how long has it been since a major life change or event, how long we have worked at a specific job, etc. Years seem to be a good milestone for that purpose, don’t you think?

There are spans of time longer than years. Take decades, for example. We characterize decades for certain trends and traits, but we don’t really celebrate them and nobody measures their milestones in 10-year increments. What sounds more impressive.....being married for 50 years or five decades? The bigger number wins.

The one measure of time which is truly more striking than a year is the century. I doubt that I will make it to the century mark....but I’m impressed by people who do. Take, for example, Gustine’s Frank Scesa, still going strong at 101 and a joy to visit with. Anybody who can say that they have lived for a century has seen a lot of things happen in the world, haven’t they?

If by some chance I do live to be 100, I’d like to do it like Frank has.

Time is also a great organizer in our lives. Everything from making dinner reservations to scheduling meetings to booking a flight to knowing when your favorite television show airs to remembering your anniversary is time-based, isn’t it?

Time truly guides everything we do....we would be lost without it.

Of course, time is sometimes deceptive.

We’ve all mentioned that years seem to flash by in no time at all (and yes, that does happen more acutely with age). We have all experienced a moment when it felt like time stood still, or a day that felt like it was about 48 hours long, or a week that seemed to last an entire year.

One of my time-related illusions is that Tuesday, which is our newspaper production day and the weekly deadline for pulling everything together, seems to roll around every three days.

I know it doesn’t.....but that’s how it feels. On Wednesdays, it seems like I have all the time in the world to get things going for the following week’s papers, and then in the blink of an eye it is Monday morning and crunch time is upon me.

In reality, though, time never slows down or speeds up.....it marches forward with precise, unrelenting  consistency, regardless of where we are or what is happening in our lives.

Time cannot be stopped or saved up for later use, which is why every moment is valuable and every day should be used wisely.

Nor can it be captured, or traded for something else in life.

You can’t feel it, taste it, put it in a box, buy it, sell it or see it.

Nonetheless you can savor it and make the most of it.

Life itself is, I think, a gift of time.

Ultimately, can you think of anything more valuable? Most things in life we can go out and replace when used up.....time, once spent, is forever gone, and we all have only so much of it.

So now, the seconds have turned into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into weeks, weeks into months and months into yet another calendar year.

We flip the page to 2019 in just a few days.

It is the annual ritual of declaring a new year starting.....a traditional time for goal-setting (otherwise known as resolutions) and best wishes for the year ahead.

I have a few of both, but won’t bore anybody by reciting them here.

I hope they come to fruition; just as I hope yours to do the same.

Without goals and wishes, after all, life would be pretty mundane.

Wouldn’t it?

So here’s wishing everybody a safe, happy and prosperous 2019.

Make every moment count.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.