It's that time of year when we take stock. We vow to make changes in our lives. We convince ourselves that we will keep the promises we make for the new year.

We all make New Year's resolutions, but most of us never keep them.

The start of a new year is like a rebirth. We all feel like we have to make a fresh start.

As hard as we may try, most of us just give up. Credit those who stick by what they've set for themselves.

Every year, I, too, think about making changes. Most times I forget I even thought about doing so.

Rather, I have wishes.

First and foremost, I wish and pray that my family -- both blood and blended -- is healthy and happy, especially my five great-nephews, who give me so much joy every time I see them. Quite simply, they always make me smile.

They are the future, and we -- the adults -- must ensure they have a future to which they are entitled. Peace, happiness, prosperity, security.

Those wishes also go to my extended family of Fairfield, the place I have called home for nearly 30 years. I love Fairfield. I love its diversity, its beautiful shoreline, its culture, its history, its many wide open spaces.

But Fairfield is not an inexpensive place to live.

So my next wish goes to our town and school officials, who must make every effort to reduce unnecessary spending and keep taxes down.

I've talked to several older Fairfielders who say they don't know how much longer they can continue to live here. The property taxes may drive them out of town. And these aren't people who live in grandiose homes. They are everyday folk who worry about being priced out.

And while we're talking about taxes, let's not let happen what happened a year ago -- when the first selectman proposed a municipal budget that carried a 6 percent increase in taxes. Thankfully, after much scrutiny and reassessment, the tax rate was whittled down to an acceptable level.

So let's do it right from the start.

Finally, let's all remember to help those among us who are less fortunate.

Fairfield is a caring and compassionate community, but we always can do more to bring happiness and security to others.

It doesn't have to be much -- maybe a donation to a favorite charity or a few hours of volunteer time.

Whatever you do in the new year, make it best for yourselves and others.

Patricia A. Hines is a Fairfield writer, and her "Hines Sight" appears every other Friday. She can be reached at She also can be followed @patricia_hines on Twitter.