Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year - 2013

Happy New Year!

2012 was an OK year.  Could have been better. 

There were the obvious low points:  My beautiful young cousin died suddenly this past Friday, for no apparent reason, leaving my Aunt, her mother, to begin the new year by burying her youngest child.  We lost our dear doggy friend Sparky in October.  We had to pay a lot of federal taxes because of poor communication and planning about income tax withholding in 2011 -- we are still making payments on our payment plan.  Ugh. 

But even without the deaths and taxes (the only two things guaranteed in this life), I've felt a little "off" all year... too grumpy, too lazy, too tired, and/or too busy to be happy or productive this past year.

My cousin's death has me thinking that perhaps it is time to get my life in order, get my act together....  [insert your favorite cliche here].  I am lucky to be alive, really...  and I really ought to demonstrate through my actions exactly how much I appreciate that gift.

So, for 2013, I hope to be more productive, more cheerful, and kinder to everyone.  I hope this will make my small corner of the world a happier place to be.

Those are pretty grand (and vague) goals, though, and one thing I've learned is that, to accomplish big goals, we have to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps.

So, for January, my plan is as follows:

1.  Make "to do lists."  I used to do this all the time, but have fallen out of the habit.  I find myself forgetting things and not getting things done lately. Time to get out pen and paper and make lists again.

2.  Smile more.  Even when I don't feel like it.  Sometimes if I'm feeling down and I smile, I actually start to feel happier.  (Sometimes, the mind follows the body.)  Sometimes if others are feeling down and we smile at them, they actually start to feel happier.  So I will actively try to smile at least once a day when I *don't* feel like it.  It doesn't count if I'm spontaneously smiling already!  It will probably help if I remind myself of the many things I have to smile about.

3.  Do a good turn daily.  This is a scouting motto, and I think the world would be a happier place if we all followed it.  So, once a day (more if the mood strikes me), I will try to do something nice for someone - a family member, friend, or stranger.  Something unexpected and not already on my "to do" list or list of things I already do on a regular basis (holding doors for people carrying things doesn't count - I do that already).  Things like paying for a stranger's coffee at my favorite coffee shop, or giving a homeless person some food.  Emailing a friend just to tell her how wonderful she is.  Doing one of the chores my spouse ususally does.  Little things like that can go a long way toward making the world a better place.

Note:  these are not resolutions.  If I don't do them one day, I will not have "failed."  These are just things I plan to try to do, to make the year happier for myself and for others.

What are your plans for the new year?