Yes, it is the time of year when many of us think about our lives and make plans to enrich them. I have made many New Year’s resolutions over my time and most of them were unoriginal, boring, and undoable. I changed my mindset and have made a list that I think speaks of my human struggle and the ways that I want to travel through this life.
1. Be more engaged with people, animals, plants, nature and the universe. I will listen more intently; empathize more sincerely; detail more thoroughly. Occasionally, when someone is speaking to me, I am not paying attention, but I act like I am. I face the person, nod and smile at times. I am practicing the “bartender’s nod.” I think that this is a way to detach from an overload of information, but it does not really help me. I want to be present to the people in my life. I want to experience more sunny days and more rainy days. I want to hear the corn.
2. Stop asking for approval. I have a bad habit of searching for approval. I want someone to tell me I did a good job, the dinner was great, my eyes look really blue in that sweater. I need that third-party recognition. But, really, if I do my best, why do I need someone else to tell me it was good? The compliment is nice, but the searching for it … not so much.
3. Give a compliment every day. This one should be easy. Many times I have a complimentary thought, but I do not pass it on. I know how much that would mean to me (see No. 2) but I am afraid to say it. Why? I don’t know. Do I think that someone will reject my compliment? Make me rethink what I thought was worth praise? Maybe so, but I am going to give this a try. I think I will excel at this one!
4. Bend. I should try to bend a little every day. Try something new. Visit some place different. Be more patient. Have an open mind. Look at other points of view. The tree that bends in the turbulent wind will survive the storm. Bend.
5. Laugh more. I think that humor can save many of us from stress, depression, and mindless anger. We are all a little funny and that is a good thing. A smile is nice, but a chuckle, a giggle, a side-splitting laugh is way better. I know life is complicated and hard. It can grind you down. But we don’t have Third World problems here. The problems that we may have are not disrespected by a little laughter.
6. Stand up straight. I noticed the other day that I seemed to be leaning over; my back was not straight. Why was my head down and my shoulders scrunched up? I feel better when I stand up straight. I feel purposeful, determined, and capable. I can stand up to the problems that face me.
I will step into 2020 with positive thoughts of new beginnings. I hope you do, too. Buona fortuna!
SUSAN TONDI lives in Standard with her husband of 36 years and two senior dogs, Simon and Callie. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.