I don’t know about you, but 2018 was filled with the unexpected. My 2018 started with a fire and it is ending with the feeling of being surrounded by ashes and rising above them. I have spoken to so many people who felt as if 2018 was a transitional year and they are happily looking forward to 2019. I must admit, I always feel like odd-numbered years are my best years. There is something about the tumult of 2018 that has so many of my friends eagerly awaiting the promise of 2019. As with all things, we always have options, choices and decisions that can be made in our favor. As we close out 2018, let us reflect on the year and plan for the year ahead.

As always, I ask my readers to think of ways they are contributing to their own lives as well as the lives of the people in their communities. As you reflect on 2018, did you do anything of substance for yourself and others? If you did, then kudos. What did you do and what will you continue for the next year? If you did not, what prevented you from achieving your goals and stepping outside of yourself?

There are only a few days left in 2018, and I implore you to make a quick list of things you can accomplish before the year ends. Was there a movie, TV show or play you really wanted to see in 2018? Did you purge your closets and files to make room (literally and figuratively) for the new year to begin? Did you make a list of your accomplishments from 2018 and a list of goals for 2019? There are so many ways we can celebrate 2018 and plan for 2019 in these final days of the year.

As for me, I am planning on seeing more theater in 2019, working on a book project and spending more time with family. I am trying to be intentional about these aspirations, which means I must keep a clear and concise calendar to make sure I accomplish these realistic goals.

To say 2018 has been an emotional year is a gross understatement. So many people are worried about their futures, their careers, their environment, their immigrations status, the livelihood of their loved ones, the fate of their family members overseas and the future of this country and our democracy. It is imperative we stay present so we can plan for the future. Next year promises to be a year in which we continue to evaluate who we are and what makes us genuinely happy. That is why we are here: to be happy and do for others. It is my sincere hope that you close out 2018 with energy and aspirations.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com.