Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New year, new decade: a clean page

I like to think of a new year as a clean slate, or in writer’s lingo, a clean page. Anything is possible in a new year, and, in the case of the just-days-old 2010, a new decade.

We humans get another chance to get things right, to do things better, to be healthier, to live smarter and healthier, to make better decisions and to treat others and ourselves better. At least we can try.

Historically, I avoid written personal resolutions and would not share here them if I did. Rather, I prefer general advice to self, based on ever-growing experience and borrowing from wise others.

Listening to NPR the other day (yes, I am one of those), I heard an “expert” talking about advice and New Year’s promises. She blogs, I believe, and advised in one blog to make small changes. One she recommended in the past was: make your bed every day.

Seems simple, and for some it’s automatic (as it is to me now, but probably was not when I was getting children ready for school and me ready for work years ago). The expert said she was surprised at the response from readers who said this simple bed-making daily observance helped them in other ways beyond coming home to a neat resting place. Perhaps daily bed making brought “control over something” into lives which felt out of control. Regardless, if the advice helps, then repeat it. So I am.

Consider with me these thoughts and advice, as we begin 2010:

• Make your bed every day.

• Listen twice as much as you speak.

• If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything.

• If you are angry at someone, the anger controls you.

• Stop doing things that are bad for you.

• Start doing things that are good for you.

• Don’t compare your life with others. You have no idea, really, what theirs is really like and what they’ve had to deal with.

• Forgive, even if the person has not asked for forgiveness. There are reasons Forgiveness is in the Bible so many times, and one is that forgiving is so difficult and important.

• You can’t change the past. Make peace with it and learn from it. Make the most of every day, because today is really all we can be sure of.

• Hope for the future, and plan for it, too.

• Never underestimate the power of music. Wanna get happy? Try Jerry Lee Lewis, who said it so well: "Rock 'n Roll is Rock 'n Roll. If there's anything better, I wanna hear it."

• Smile even if you don’t feel like it. It’s contagious; so is frowning.

• Laugh every day. Especially at yourself.

Picture of the day: Pondering the future. This iguana is one of many we saw on a trip to St. Thomas a couple of years ago. Posing at the side of the swimming pool (where he came WAY too close to my chair), this tropical American lizard appears to be pondering his future, like we are as the 2010s begin.

Song of the day:
Get Rhythm (When You Get the Blues), Johnny Cash

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