With the holiday season, Christmas, and New Year celebrations pretty much tucked away, I think it is safe to say the time for the obligatory “resolutions” has expired.
That doesn’t mean we still can’t decide every day to try something new or make ourselves a little, well, better. Everyone can use some tidying up once in a while.
As I am not keen on the overkill idea of the resolution, I came up with a little occasional small goal to think about from time to time: Something Funny. Something Creative. Something Healthy. Something Kind.
This follows sort of the same idea as the old Victorian wedding good-luck foursome of “old, new, borrowed, blue,” but it is much more practical. Plus, as opposed to just some items to bring luck, these are actual acts that help us pave our own future, no matter who we are.
Laughter is good for our health. It is good for our spirit. It is good for our emotions and our all-around energy. I have mentioned before (likely several times) that we need to find a reason to laugh a little every single day. It is that important to me. Humor has gotten me through tough times and made boring or awkward situations more bearable. Sometimes, you have to make your own reasons to laugh. There are obvious ways. Pick up a funny book or watch a favorite comedy. You can also find silly reasons to make yourself and others laugh. Make a goofy face at work or wear a ridiculous hat… for no reason. Make an “inside joke” out of the blue among friends or family while at dinner. Draw a silly doodle and pass it to someone who needs a smile. If you don’t have a reason to be funny, find a reason.
When I was taking guitar lessons back in high school, my teacher and his wife were two of the most creative people I knew. He was constantly writing songs, while she was a successful art professor and jewelry maker. Their house was filled with cool art from fellow creative types, and visiting their home was like walking through an eclectic museum. My teacher mentioned one time his wife’s mom raised her around creative thinking. The kids weren’t allowed to watch television until they did something “creative” that day. It could be drawing a picture, writing a little poem, building something with rocks in the back yard…anything that involves working the artistic muscles in your mind. I haven’t seen these people in years, but that comment stuck. I try to do the same thing, and I hope my own kids have picked up the habit.
This one may sound a little too much like a resolution, but it really isn’t. I’m not suggesting we “lose 20 pounds” or “run a marathon.” Instead, I’m saying to do a little something for your physical well-being. Cook a nice healthy meal with your kids. Find some time to walk and clear your head. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep once in a while. Healthy can also refer to your mental state as well. Turn off social media for a while. (The world is better outside of the bicker-verse.) Do a crossword or numbers puzzle. Relax to some favorite music. As parents, we are constantly trying to do right by our kids, but we need to take some time to take care of ourselves. Even in small doses.
Hopefully, being kind is something we are all already doing. I’m not talking about just telling others to be kind, either, although technically that seems to be what I am doing here. The irony is not lost—and I hope I do not sound too hypocritical—but wearing a shirt or sporting a bumper sticker with some phrase like “Kindness Matters” doesn’t make any difference unless we show people what it means. I see people from all walks of life and political affiliations that have little “be kind” phrases in their social media bios but use their time on whatever platform they like to argue and gripe. Don’t do that; no one on any side of any issue will change a mind that way. In the “real world,” however, greet strangers with nice words or a smile. Tell them you like the cool image on their graphic tee. Hold a door or give up a spot in line or a person with tons of packages or groceries. Randomly compliment your kid on something they are doing that makes you proud of them. Donate some blankets to a pet shelter. We don’t have to be philanthropists or activists to make a difference in our corner of the world. We can all do it one small act at a time.
The year is still new, but no matter how much of it is left, every day gives us a new start and a new reason to try to be our best selves. If it takes a little reminder of how to do that, then I hope I at least put out a spark of inspiration.
After all, it is still January.