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If Everyone Made these 12 New Year’s Resolutions, the World Would Be Happier

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." - Mark Twain

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve generally had the perspective of Mr. Twain. But that’s because resolutions are so commonly things that won’t actually improve someone’s life, or (and especially) the lives of others in their life. But what if we all had the same New Year’s resolutions, and were able to hold one another mutually accountable, and they improved our lives and the lives of those in our lives?

If a genie gave me just one wish… I would wish for infinite hummus. Sorry. But if I was lucky enough to stumble upon another genie, my wish would be for everyone to make these New Year’s Resolutions (ya know, in case treating every day like Christmas isn’t your style). I believe in the power of individuals, and we can change the world one person at a time for the better. But it starts with changing our individual worlds. So, Mark Twain be damned, this year I resolve to:

  1. Realize that I’m incredibly fortunate. Even when things seem like they can’t get worse, and I think the whole world is against me, the simple fact that I’m able to be unhappy is a byproduct of the fortune of being given that opportunity to be unhappy.
  2. Be grateful for what I have. I don’t have much, but I have plenty. Flipping a switch and having lights come on, for example, is pretty freaking awesome. I want to remind myself to be more thankful for those things, every day.
  3. Want less, and learn to want to give more. Giving is happiness.
  4. Understand that it’s okay not to be happy all the time. And to affirm others in understanding this. Life has ups and downs and lefts and wrongs. It’s okay to not be happy — it just makes happy even better when I get it.
  5. Appreciate aloneness. To not freak out, to make the most of the peace, and to remember that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.
  6. Love more and judge less. “This goes for loving yourself, too, Mister!” I yell at myself, judgmentally, because I know that I’m far more likely to love and avoid judging another person. I can definitely do more loving of myself and others, and less judging of myself and others.
  7. Eat less food that makes me feel like garbage. Yeah, it tastes good in the moment, but I’d bet heroin feels pretty good, and you don’t see me eating that every weekend.
  8. Move my body more. Sitting is bad, and I do it too much. I don’t enjoy exercising, but I want to learn to enjoy it. When I nudge myself to do it, I almost always enjoy it. I’m going to do that more.
  9. Put myself in unknown situations. Comfort is good, but growth comes from challenge. I’m going to seek out unknown situations, read things I may not have otherwise read, talk to people I may have otherwise ignored.
  10. Treat individual human beings as individual human beings. Don’t allow myself to track my mud into their houses, or the mud that someone else who may have looked like/sounded like/smelled like them do the same.
  11. Not let my pride stand between me and something or someone. It doesn’t matter what the “principle” of the matter was, or all the other bullshit excuses I use. What matters is what I want to happen in the future, and whether I’m willing to circumvent pride to make it happen.
  12. Sweep before my own door first. To remember that I’m not helping any one — as a hard worker, friend, partner, etc. — if I’m not taking care of myself. I need to be my own friend first.

If you’re up for this challenge, let me know. Or share the list with a friend as a friendly challenge. We can be one another’s accountabilibuddies. Gosh, I love spelling that word.

Better Humaning

14 Simple Ways to Treat Every Day More Like Christmas

"First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle." - Buddy the Elf

Christmas Time is a few days (or weeks, or months, at this point), when a lot of us change the ways we approach our life and the people in it.

There are a lot of positive changes that are part of that shift, things that would likely make the rest of us our year a bit more merry if we were intentional about them all twelve months.

The first dictate in the Code of Elves, after all, is “Treat every day like Christmas.” What would that look like if us humans raised by humans gave it a shot?

Here are some ways to treat every day like Christmas:

  1. Focus on what you can give to others to make them happier. And focus less on taking or giving to ourselves. Giving and making others happy will make you happy.
  2. Be extremely grateful when a restaurant or store is open. Be grateful they are allowing you to give them money for things you want. Don’t take it for granted. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
  3. Sleep in a bit. Snowflake pajamas or jazzy socks optional.
  4. Cook more, and put your heart into it. Microwave and order out less.
  5. Spend time with people you care about. Even if it takes a bit of work, or it’s cold, or you kinda-sometimes hate them, or they smell, or they’re a cotton-headed ninny muggins.
  6. Drink wine. You know, for your heart health.
  7. Play. With a kid. With yourself. Whichever. Just not both at the same time.
  8. Open a present every morning with the enthusiasm of a four-year-old kid unwrapping a present. Which present? How about the present? The gift of a new day! (Too corny? Really? C’mon. I thought that was pretttty clever — no? Okay, whatever, Grinch)
  9. Find ways to laugh. Even if you think a joke is corny. Stop being so damned bitter all the time. Yeah, I’m talking to you. Jerk.
  10. Give more hugs. Hugging makes the world better. Or, if it’s more your style, do it on your twin bed. Regardless, touch [with consent] more people.
  11. Touch more people (in the figurative sense). Give nice cards, say nice things, express your thanks, peace on earth, good will toward man — the whole kit and caboodle.
  12. Eat chocolate. You know, for your heart.
  13. Watch feel-good movies. Or feel-good videos on the internet, or have feel-good conversations. More feel-good = feel more good. You are what your mind eats.
  14. Be conscious of the memories you’re making. And take some photos [with consent].

Have more ideas on how we can live more positively by treating every day like Christmas? Share them with me on Twitter!

Better Humaning

FRIENDSGIVING: My Island for Misfit Toys

Thanksgiving: the annual family stress test to see if your family is ready for Christmas

I loved Thanksgiving growing up. As a kid, Thanksgiving is a wonderful event. You get a couple days off school, you eat too much, sleep too much, eat too much again, sleep again, repeat, then it’s Monday. Loved it.

As an adult, it can be fun, but it also tends to be a bit more stressful. Either you’re part of the shopping and prepping and cooking tornado, or you’re a worthless obstruction that gets caught up in its path (like those cows in Twister). Throw in a bunch of people who don’t see each other often, starve them for a few hours, add two servings of booze, a sprinkling of reticent drama, and you’ve got Thanksgiving.

Continue reading → “FRIENDSGIVING: My Island for Misfit Toys”
Updates

Halloween, As Viewed Through Many Eyes

"I am the clown with the tear-away face Here in a flash and gone without a trace I am the 'who' when you call, 'Who's there?' I am the wind blowing through your hair I am the shadow on the moon at night Filling your dreams to the brim with fright"

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. It is the one time of the year when it is acceptable — even encouraged — to be whoever, or whatever, you want to be — to pretend, to take chances, to wear gaudy lipstick.

Growing up, crafting costumes and living as someone else for a night was something I looked forward to the entire year — far more than the punch-you-in-your-pancreas sugar overdose, though who doesn’t prefer their apples covered in a gravy of melted sugar and butter, the way God intended. As an adult (or at least as “adult” as I ever plan on getting), so much of my time and work is focused on helping people understand identity.

The irony is not lost on me. Continue reading → “Halloween, As Viewed Through Many Eyes”