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It’s that time of year when positive people make well intended resolutions, so if that’s not you, set a few goals. They’re less lofty, more specific, and, if you’re really serious, they’re measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound. However, if that’s not you either, try setting objectives.

To commune with ourselves, we must trek two hours to Stanardsville, a town on the edge of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains whose population has stairstepped down over the years to 384 people, a country store and this wooded plot, which, before 20 tiny houses arrived this fall, was an RV campground called Heavenly Acres.

Working from home has become as ordinary as having a job in the first place. No one blinks at a request to go remote part time, because traditional separations between work and home are softening.

No matter where we are in our lives regarding our jobs, our job search or even our search for meaning and purpose, it is important to know and to hold on to the hope that is available to all of us. We are often reminded of this “hope” during the holiday season. It is a gift. We must be open and willing to receive it.

WEBSTER COUNTY, Miss. On the 597th day, the day he hoped everything would change, Joe Stewart woke early. He took 15 pills in a single swallow. He shaved his head. And then he got down to the business of the day, which was the business of every day, and that was waiting. He looked outside and saw his mother there in a green sedan, engine running. So many months he had waited for this moment, and now it was here. Time for his Social Security disability hearing. Time to go.

It’s that time of year when we are encouraged to count our blessings and to give thanks. It sounds pretty simple and it can be, at times.

On a sticky morning in New Orleans, Cameron Quincy Todd walked into the Cornstalk Hotel, the 65th property she has visited in six months. She didn’t look ragged after a long journey, and she wasn’t carrying any luggage. Instead, she looked refreshed and toted only a small pink satchel containing a notebook — two major clues to her true identity. She approached the front desk and announced herself: The hotel reviewer with Fodor’s Travel had arrived. No need to be nervous.