Midnight sprung up on me on New Year’s Eve this year.
I’d gathered with a small group of friends to celebrate the end of 2015 and start of a new year, and as often happens we found ourselves having an in-depth conversation about politics and policy in North Carolina.
A friend noted that it was almost midnight, and we moved toward the TV to watch the countdown and ball drop. As I sat watching the crowd in Times Square, I couldn’t help but reflect on this last year and my resolutions for the new one ahead.
2015 was a challenging year for me, and I’m not sad that it’s over.
I was arrested in August for drinking and driving. If you are a regular reader of The Chapel Hill News, you likely saw reports of the charges and subsequent court proceedings. Then last fall, I lost my re-election bid to the Town Council.
So it’s no surprise that I’m looking forward to a new day in 2016.
I’m excited to have more time to focus on my professional work on HIV and AIDS health policy and to stay involved in our local community through some new projects, including this column. I hope it can provide an opportunity to showcase and highlight good work happening in Orange County.
I’ll probably share a political opinion or two, but I’m primarily interested in the ways Chapel Hill can become a stronger place outside of the political realm.
Of course, I’ve done a great deal of reflection over the last year about my own leadership, about alcohol, and about the impact of substance abuse in our community. I know the consequences of my reckless decision could have been far greater than they were. When the time is right, I may share some of these thoughts, too.
A positive impact
No matter how difficult this last year was, I still have a lot to be grateful for. I have a supportive family and amazing group of friends, a job that I love, and the opportunity to continue to make a positive impact in North Carolina. At the end of the day, that’s more than enough, and I was lucky to spend New Year’s Eve with several great friends.
On that night, I made a commitment to being a healthier person in 2016, and resolved to compete in the Tar Heel 10 Miler in April. It’s something I’ve been planning to do for several years now — it has been one of my resolutions in the past — but I’ve never devoted the time to training that I needed.
This is the year I’ll finally make it happen. I’m committed to increasing my exercise routine, joining one of the training programs at Fleet Feet, and abstaining from alcohol from now until the race. Publicly committing to this resolution in the newspaper puts great pressure on me to meet this goal, and I’m counting on you all to help me keep my promise!
On New Year’s Eve I found a song stuck in my head, one I’d been listening to for several weeks.
If you know me personally, you know I love Broadway musicals and of course was thrilled when NBC announced they’d be staging a version of “The Wiz” last month.
Dorothy’s story teaches us that while the lessons you learn on your journey back home may be hard, they are also necessary. One of my favorite songs is “A Brand New Day,” and I found myself humming the melody as we entered into a new year. I’ve adopted it as my honorary theme song, maybe these words will inspire you toward a healthier and better 2016, too.
Everybody look around
’Cause there's a reason to rejoice you see
Everybody come out
And let’s commence to singing joyfully…
Can’t you feel a brand new day?
Can’t you feel a brand new day?
Lee Storrow is a Chapel Hill resident and a former member of the Town Council. He can be reached at LeeStorrow@gmail.com.