We think 2022 was probably the best year since 2019, but still challenging. A quick look back at the past year shows that we here in the Midcoast took time to enjoy our favorite events and traditions in a way we were not able to during the height of the pandemic, but it also shows that our priorities may not be in the right place.

We spent much of the past year fighting for the wrong things and focused on the wrong priorities.

According to the Portland Press Herald, in 2023 we may see a record number of evictions as the housing crisis puts Mainers on the streets. The moratoriums on evictions during the pandemic have expired and the money from the government for relief has dried up.

Here in the Midcoast, “neighbors” have consistently failed to live up to that name by fighting against affordable housing projects small and large. Perhaps as a New Year resolution, we can decide to collectively start choosing our battles. Just because a project is planned near your home does not automatically mean it needs to be fought tooth and nail.

In addition, maybe we should start defining “near your home” as actually near it.

Maine saw months of drought this summer and we are seeing storm surges flood coastal areas in the fall and winter. We must focus on climate change and sea level rise. The time has passed to prevent these inevitabilities, but we can work toward a resilient infrastructure designed to withstand the onslaught of rising waters.

At the national level, some have a knee-jerk response to the issue of increased regulations to save endangered right whales. Here, our local lawmakers have been united in fighting to help our lobster fishing industry and fending off draconian regulations. Short-sighted are those who consider only the needs of the one species.

The economic situation in Maine is already dire, with a shortage of workers and affordable housing for them. We cannot afford to lose a billion-dollar industry at this point.

Speaking of workers, we need to focus in 2023 on listening to the needs and concerns of employees who live here now and who might come here. Increased access to broadband throughout the state will bring us more potential to draw remote workers from around the nation, or it would if we had housing for these newcomers.

Employers had long enjoyed the opportunity to set low wages and ignore complaints about working conditions. In response to the shortage of employees, there has been unfair criticism in the community that people are lazy, but the reality is that the pandemic sped up the retirements of baby boomers and there are not enough young people to replace that loss to the workforce. Employers are going to need to be flexible when it comes to the work environment and wages need to be living wages.

Voters in Maine will likely decide in November whether to push forward with the effort to replace CMP and Versant with a new consumer-owned utility. This would mean taking the companies by eminent domain. We urge readers to educate themselves on this issue this year. There are pitfalls to both choices being presented and with electricity costs soaring, we may not be able to afford making the wrong call here.

It is a tall order for 2023, and we will not achieve all of our goals in any one year. However, setting the right priorities and goals goes a long way toward achieving them.

For the time being, we have a pleasant holiday to look forward to: the celebration of a new year. The practice dates back to 45 B.C., when New Year’s Day was celebrated Jan. 1 for the first time in history due to the new Julian calendar, according to History.com. Thank you, Julius Caesar for reforming the calendar.

From all of us at your local newspaper, Happy New Year and best of luck on your resolutions this year.

The editorial board of The Courier-Gazette and The Camden Herald collaborate on issues of public interest.