Another year gone

It is New Year’s Eve Day as I write this. Another year ending; a new one shortly to begin. 2011 was an interesting year – probably an understatement! The biggest change for us was moving out of the house where we had lived for many years and into a new home. Moving is stressful! There are still things to be done to make the house what we want, but we are working on those little by little. There are finally drapes up in the living room and the new laundry room is coming along in fits and starts depending on how much money is available. After that is major remodeling of both bathrooms.

 This was also the year I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and I managed to meet the 50,000 word goal with a day or two to spare! I haven’t really looked at what I wrote since the end of November, but that’s okay because I’m not ready to go back to it yet. I plan to finish it in January and then start editing shortly after that. NaNoWriMo is a wonderful thing, and I’m already looking forward to next November so I can do it again. (Glutton for punishment??)

We always hope that the New Year is going to be better than the old one. And I suppose it always is better in some areas. It depends where our priorities lie and what we consider success to look like. For me, success is more a matter of what I think and feel than any outward sign of wealth. Too many people think success is having more material things, the bigger-better-faster-more-expensive mindset. I disagree. Material things are transient; this year’s ‘big thing’ is next year’s gone-by-the-wayside. I just don’t believe that if I have a bigger more expensive car than you do that it makes me a more successful person.

I believe I am successful if I am content with my life and am happy with what I have. Yes, there are things I would like to have, but having them isn’t going to make me happier. I try to express gratitude every day not only for what I have but also for what I am going to have. And that gratitude includes things that may seem bad at the time. We can never know in advance how life will be; sometimes our lives are better because of little blips along the way. I certainly believe that. I am the person I am because of the sum of my experiences, good and bad, along the way. And I wouldn’t change any of it!

So Happy New Year my friends. I hope your New Year is filled with success, however you define it! And may you have good health, good friends, and good cheer!!

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Be Yourself

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
― Dr. Seuss

‘Be yourself’ the sages say, but they don’t tell you how to be yourself. How can you be yourself if you don’t know who you are? I know who I am; I stick to my principles. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what they are when the whole world seems to be crumbling around me. And there are some people who make it difficult for me to remember to love the person even when they are being obnoxious. How does one gain self awareness? How can we become who we are supposed to be?

I don’t have all the answers; I don’t think any one person does. There are enlightened people in this world; they will be the first to tell you they don’t have all the answers. I read a lot, consider, revise, discard, read some more, listen to people, talk to them, then make up my own mind about things.

We have forgotten civility – it’s been a long time coming. Does anyone else remember a time when we could have discussions, debates, on important issues without resorting to name-calling? Without labeling someone a Nazi or a Communist? We don’t respect ourselves, let alone each other. If we have no love nor respect for ourselves, how can we respect and love others?

There are things about myself I don’t necessarily like; some I can change, some I can’t. I’m short – I can’t change that. I’m overweight – I can change that and I am. I hate my hair color – I do change that -regularly. I like my eye color – I don’t want to change that. There are personality traits I have that I inherited from my parents; some I like and some I don’t. I can rail against my parents for making me who I am or I can act like the grown up person I am and work on changing what I don’t like or at least harnessing that trait for positive instead of negative.

I used to worry about what others thought about me; I wanted to be loved by everyone. Then I discovered I was tearing myself apart trying to be all things to all people. I decided that I didn’t like everyone I met so why should I expect everyone I met to like me? I began to change. I started the journey to becoming who I am meant to be. It has been a long journey with many detours along the way. And I expect there will be more detours.

There are people in this world who are negative, who are always complaining, as I used to do. Now, I focus on what I want, on what I have, instead of on what I don’t have and what I don’t want. Although positive thinking wasn’t easy at first, I have found that it is now almost second nature; I don’t have to think about it most of the time. We can find the positive in every negative if we only look.

Being myself is a lifelong journey. And life itself is a journey; a journey I am enjoying more as I become more who I am.