It’s Finally 2022!

Fort Bend Strong by The Honorable Pete Olson

Detail of the bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation designed by Stanley Watts that sits in front of Stevens Hall at Gettysburg College.

January 1st was the official start of the New Year! Historically, important things have happened on the first day of the New Year. The Republic of China (Taiwan) became a nation in 1912. Australia was born in 1901 – G’day, mate!  The Czech Republic and Slovakia split into two independent nations in 1993. Alcatraz became a federal prison in 1934. The group who killed Osama Bin Laden, our Navy SEALS, was created the first day of January in 1962. The year 1942 began with all production of private cars stopping to manufacture equipment we needed to beat Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany in World War II. Finally, one of the greatest actions ever taken by mankind took place on January 1st, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln freed all of the slaves in America by signing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Most of us do not focus on the Emancipation Proclamation or history on New Year’s Day. Instead, we focus on our personal lives. Some of us start out the New Year with a hangover, because we overindulged while waiting until midnight for some ball to drop down. Those days are over for me. A fifty-nine year old man always chooses sleep over raucous New Year’s Eve revelry.

Others make New Year’s Resolutions to try to improve their lives. We strive to lose excess weight or to exercise more or to start being active in church again or to get that promotion at work or to finally clean out the God-forsaken junk pile in the attic. Sadly, most of us will make the same resolutions on January 1st, 2023 that we made for 2022.  I’ve lost 20 pounds in the last year, but I still have the “done lop” disease – my belly still “done lops” over my belt.  It’s hard to see how I am going to lose that gut, so that New Year’s Resolution ain’t happening for me!

I try to use each New Year’s Day to reflect on the amazing times I’ve had in my life with family and friends. Here are few memories I’ll always cherish.

Grant and Kate Olson.

Nancy and I have been blessed with two amazing kids, Kate and Grant. Kate was predicted to join us on December 29th, 1996. We thought Kate might want to make a splash by waiting two days and becoming the first baby born in 1997 in Fairfax County, Virginia. But, Kate had other plans. She kept Nancy and me up all night for the first full night of 1997; she joined us just after 7 am on January 3rd.  Here is a photo of our kids and their first New Year’s Day together in 2000.  Family makes all of us Fort Bend Strong!

Pete and Nancy Olson with Debbie and Marvin Marcell.

And great New Year memories are not limited to just family. Friends and New Year’s Day are blessings, too! The last time I truly turned back the clock and stayed up nearly all night was January 1st, 2016. Nancy and I met dear Fort Bend County friends at the Grand Canyon. The Marcells (Debbie and Marvin) and the Humphries (Lynne and Rod) were waiting for us on the stunning South Rim.  That night, the New Year’s party was rocking!  Nancy, Debbie and Lynne out-partied Marvin, Rod and me. We almost started 2016 by losing our “man cards!” Luckily, the beauty of a brisk hike all over the South Rim restored our reputations. Friends make us Fort Bend Strong!

The Olson Family: Pete, Maisy, Kate, Mamie, Grant and Nancy Olson.

My final thoughts on New Year’s Day:  Resolutions are important, but family transcends all personal goals. Every minute of every day of every year spent with your family is a gift from Heaven.  Celebrate together. That’s my resolution for 2022! It has already started.

Please share your New Year’s stories of family and friends with me at – so I can share them with others. Happy 2022! If we keep politics out and family in, we will always be Fort
Bend Strong!