Moving Forward - And Looking Ahead

Today, just a few days after the election, the streets of my Chicago neighborhood feel, look and sound different. Gone are the political candidate placards. Gone is the polling place signage. And, gone are the streams of voters walking hurriedly in the chilly rain to go to the polls. Instead, people are remarking about the election results, talking about the need to get back to business, and looking ahead to the next four years.

As the holiday decorations slowly start to go up on the buildings, trees and lampposts that line the busy streets that surround our home, a feeling of lightness and optimism seems to be seeping in all around us. It does indeed feel a bit brighter and lighter. And, I welcome that emerging optimism, growing euphoria and budding joy with open arms.

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It's been a rough few months as we've all sat and listened to endless political speeches and received countless campaign emails, posts, tweets and the like. For me, I tried to overlook the negative comments about our president or people with differing views, knowing that everyone was caught up in the moment and in the competition, and that the end would be here soon. Now, today, on this bright, sunny Chicago morning, I'm focusing on the positive, looking ahead to the approaching holidays, and running with it all.

The Future Looks and Feels Bright

No matter if your candidate won or lost, or your state was colored red or blue, it's time to all come together around our president, our country, and ourselves. And, I dare say it's time to heal a little bit too.

For me, personally, I'm moving forward and looking ahead to what the next four years have in store for us all. And, I'm hoping they'll be good years filled with growth and prosperity for our economy, our country and us all.

On Facebook, I've seen numerous status updates about the need for our divided country to reunite once again. And, I totally agree.

On Twitter, I've seen links to, and comments on, analysis of how the country and our political parties need to evolve and move forward. And, I welcome those changes and I can't wait to see how they evolve and emerge over time.

Yesterday, a business contact mentioned that several of her clients, which had stood still waiting for the election's much-anticipated outcome, were finally starting to move ahead with the business at hand and were prepared to staff accordingly. And, that is wonderful news to hear.

So, today, just a few days after the election, I'm setting my sights on setting the priorities for my family and where we want to be in the next four years. I plan to get us going, get us active and involved, and get us behind every party, person or cause that can help us achieve that vision.

Charting a Bright Future for Our Family

In the days following the election, I made a personal pledge to keep our sons focused on our country, on our leadership, and on our collective futures. To me, that means learning from our country's history and putting into practice the ways we can impact our future.

For us, that may mean working even harder to help save the environment. Or, it may mean donating more clothes, time or funds to charity. Or, it may mean building stronger relationships with people from other cultures and countries. I don't have the answer now, but I hope to soon. And, I know it won't be a decision that I make all on my own. Rather, it will be a decision I actively make with my family since it influences all of our lives, our well-being and our future.

When President Obama won his first election, our sons were three years and six months old. Now, four years later, they understand the important role the President plays in all of our lives and were active participants in the election process. And, I hope they saw and understand that one person, one vote, one action can make a difference.

On Tuesday, our sons came with us to vote. And, thanks to the wonderful people at our local polling place, they got to "help" us vote and got the "awards" to prove it. At night they were glued to our television, anxiously awaiting CNN to project the next winner for a particular state and then quickly colored it red or blue. It was hard to tear them away from the television, from the election, and from the thrill of it all. But, we somehow managed to do so.

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That night as our sons went to bed with visions of red and blue glowing states on election night, I knew they'd wake up to a new day - and a new one it is. But, I don't want them to sit back and watch the next days, months and years unfold for them. Even as young children, I want them to be active, involved citizens. And, I can't wait to see what the next four years have in store for us all.

Here's to world citizens - and the bright, shining future ahead of us!

Aimee

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