When you raise a glass to toast the passing of 2008 will your memory be flooded with times and events that make you smile and say it was worthwhile, or will it go down in your history book as just another year in the life of me? I know, it's only January, but what better time to concoct a plan, chase a dream or pursue a passion?
I've seen a few New Years come and go. Most are not as memorable as I would like. Sure, there were the big years of off to college, births, and other high points of life. A few were laced with the inevitable tragedies that spot our lives with sadness, and other years, I regret to say, came and passed in an uneventful manner. That's sad, don't you think?
A few years ago I made a conscious decision to stop living a terminally ill robotic life. Perhaps because I spent too many years in a marriage that was a lot of work, but never really worked. I finally grew tired of banging my head on the cold brick wall in front of me and found a way to peek over the top. Yikes, it can be scary to step outside the safety of your own backyard. But how the heck can life be an adventure if you don't?
My new rules for enjoying life include planning a vacation and actually taking it. No more missing life because work is more important. It isn't. A vacation is a break from your usual routine, a respite from the daily demands. It doesn't have to be exotic to be effective. Visit an old friend, take a weekend road trip, check in at a local hotel and spend the weekend as a tourist in your own town. You're sure to have an adventure, make a memory and return to work with an attitude enhancement.
Perform random acts of kindness. This one is so easy and is highly appreciated by the recipients. A few weeks ago I let a man go ahead of me in the express check-out line. He had one item I was close to the limit of fifteen. It was a small gesture, but the man thanked me three times and said it was the first time anyone had ever done that for him. He had a better day because of me. I hope he will gift another stranger with an act of kindness in the future. His enthusiasm and genuine gratitude enriched my day. That's how we can make a difference in the world, and isn't that something we all long to do? Kindness is contagious; it's also free.
Improve your little corner of the world. Last year I planted white rose bushes in large pots on my balcony, and I've been rewarded with profuse fragrant blooms since day one. I've snipped more than a few blossoms and spread them throughout the house during the year. I especially love to fall asleep with the scent of roses wafting over me from the nearby bedside table. It lifts my spirits and makes me smile when I awake. Plant a tree, nurture a garden, vow to live a greener life. It's good for the Earth, and Mother Nature offers up some amazing works of art worthy of our awe and appreciation. A little earth on your hands will go straight to your soul.
Adventure, kindness and natural beauty woven into the days of your life will play an important role in making your days more delightful and the upcoming year sweeter to recall when December rolls around.
I don't have to go far to smell the roses. And neither should you.