It started seven years ago. Like most of us, I’ve come to embrace certain holiday traditions that I recreate every holiday season, whether it be attending local festivities such as Troy’s Victorian Stroll or along with my wife throwing a lively Christmas Eve bash. One of the most recent traditions fulfilled this year was our annual trip to the Palace Theatre in Albany to view a one night screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Seven years ago I was down on my luck, work was practically non-existent, and I endlessly worried about how I was going to make ends meet. Anyone who’s self employed or seasonally dependent can tell you how difficult the holidays can be. You see it all over the place, car lots with obnoxious salesmen trying to push last year’s inventory, stores featuring short lived sales with the hopes of getting their yearly earnings out of the red and into the black, and even self employed contractors waiting for the holidays to come and go in order to start lining up customer’s home improvement projects. It can be such a joyous holiday but for many it can also be so difficult. Seven years ago when my wife first mentioned going to see the movie I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic. Like many I’d seen It’s a Wonderful Life on more then one occasion, heck if you have cable then the chances are great that you yourself saw it this past week or so. Not wanting to spoil my wife’s enthusiasm I agreed to go, consoling myself with the idea that there was a few pubs within close proximity to the theater. What I didn’t anticipate was how much my gloomy outlook would change before the night’s end. We went with a few close relatives and had prime seats dead center of the balcony. Promptly at 7:00 PM the film started and I was soon immersed in the world of the film’s main star, George Bailey, and his daily struggles. While the film played out exactly as I remembered from past viewings I found that as the end credits rolled that I took home something new with me. It was a quote at the end of the movie from Clarence the angel that really stuck with me; “No man is a failure who has friends.” In these past few years of building my own business I’ve come to learn how true those words really are. My family and friends have all been supportive, whether it was with simple words of encouragement, word of mouth recommendations or liking my new website and blog, they’ve all been there for me when it counted.See, it doesn’t matter how down and out you are in life there’s always something worth living for and always something good on the horizon. Seven years ago that film cheered me up in a way that I had not anticipated it could and made me realize that in a sense I’d been living my own version of It’s a Wonderful Life, we all have been. Now each year when the holidays roll around I take heart in knowing that business will pick up again, just like it has every year in the past. In the meantime I have fun traditions that I look forward to fulfilling and family and friends to spend time with. Here’s to the holidays and all it’s cheer, and here’s looking forward to the New Year.