For many, the new year is a time of reflection. It's a time to look back over the past 365 days and for most, it is a time of self-judgment. This can be tough because not everyone is where he or she wants to be in life. Some have propelled over the past year; some have faced unexpected obstacles; and some may feel stagnant.

We tend to judge ourselves by comparing our lives to others, and with social media available at the touch of a screen, it is almost unavoidable.

During this time of year, we see perfectly posed photos of happy families enjoying Christmas. But not everyone has that perfect family; others have no family at all. And please remember those photos are posed — not authentic. No one takes a selfie with Uncle Bob who has burnt his ugly Christmas sweater from a cigar that is tucked to his lips after he passed out in the recliner from drinking too much bourbon.

The point is, the holidays can bring out the best in people and on the same spectrum it can bring out the worst. Let’s be kind regardless of your side of the spectrum.

Memories can be bittersweet during this time of year. We not only recollect on our own lives, we remember those we have lost. And as Mr. Ronald Brantley has pointed out time and time again, we lose more and more people each year.

Those memories can bring sadness. I read a quote by Jamie Anderson and it helped explain the pain we feel after losing a loved one, "Grief is just love with no place to go."

That quote sums it up perfectly. Time does help heal the wound left behind after losing someone we love but grief never goes away because we never stop loving that person.

This time of year can be tough. I miss and think of my grandparents and Dad every day, but I tend to think of them more often during this time of year.

Speaking of grandparents, I have to give Melinda Emfinger a huge thank you. She made and gave the most delicious red velvet cake to my family right before Christmas. It meant so much. That cake was just like the red velvet cake my grandmother used to make.

There must be a special recipe known only to the best cooks in Tallassee. Most red velvet cake tastes just like chocolate cake with cream cheese icing, but a "real" red velvet cake has a different texture. It is moister and has a certain taste that perfectly pairs it with a cold glass of milk. Thank you, Melinda!

This year, we head into a new decade — 2020. It sounds weird saying it, doesn't it? 2020. It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years bring.

10 years ago my children were 10 and 8 years old. Today they are 20 and 18 years old. A lot has changed over the past 10 years and I am sure much more will change over the next 10.

Time is inevitable, unbeatable. It is what we do with it that determines the person we become.

I hope to live life to the fullest this year and each year to follow. I hope each and everyone makes the best out of the years to come. We will never get them back.

Happy New Year and new decade!  

Carmen Rodgers is a staff writer for The Tallassee Tribune.