Thoughts before Bed, a weekly series (and sometimes a bi-weekly series) of Facebook posts came about as I struggled to shut my mind off long enough to fall asleep at night. Often enough, it is thought provoking, sometimes, silly and sometimes serious. So, I promised an edition of THOUGHTS BEFORE BED before the new year and I thought it would be great to actually kick off 2017 with it.
We have a tendency, as human beings, to do what is easy and rightfully so. Life is hectic and everyone has days when "busy" doesn't come close to defining our experience. But as we venture into 2017, I would like to challenge you, just as I challenge myself, to do the difficult things. You are here. You are in this space in time because you are needed at this very moment, whether you realize that or believe that or not. Your task may not be great. You may not walk a path of notoriety and fame. But you were created for such a time as this.
THOUGHTS BEFORE 2017
1. It's easy to be an asshole. This year, I hope we will pause, take a deep breath, and first, ponder how our thoughts or actions might affect others, not simply how they will be perceived. You are like a pebble skipping across a pond and your action creates a ripple that expands across your family, your community and your world. Think first.
2. It's easy to do nothing. Rather than rock the boat or send a ripple of consequence out in the world, it is easy to sit back and watch and remain silent or live a life of inaction. If you have the luxury of doing so, you should know that there are many who do not. There are those who fight every day to survive, to live, to have clean drinking water, to put food on the table, to say no to drugs, to keep a roof over their heads, to find a cure for cancer, to better relationships in our communities between racial groups and religious groups and people on the opposite sides of whatever issue, to save the oceans and the whales and the manatees. Not everyone has to be an activist but we should all contribute to a "fight" in some way. Or at the very least speak up when someone else could use some back up.
3. It's easy to just click SHARE on any piece of news or inspiring meme or the quote of the day. And there is really nothing wrong with that because sometimes you have to get the word out or encourage others and you can't find the words yourself. BUT... I would challenge you to dive deep. How do YOU feel? What do YOU think? The greatest barrier to my writing has always been the fear of what others will think. So as I challenge myself to be honest and transparent, I challenge you to do the same.
4. It's easy to think you don't matter or you can't make a difference or one person can't change the world. But that's also a lie we tell ourselves. I smile. A lot. Not at work, really. But in the rest of my life. And I say hello. And it matters. There are little things in our everyday that we can do to change the atmosphere or the environment in which we live. I challenge you to commit one SIMPLE act of kindness EVERY DAY in 2017. And keep track of it. Journal. Write it in a little homework notepad. Make it your Facebook status or your ONE tweet. "Today, I smiled at every stranger I passed." Some days it will not matter to you but, in all likelihood, it will matter to the person you acknowledged.
5. It is easy to complain. I LOVE TO COMPLAIN. It provides fodder for my humor. I enjoy examining the sheer lunacy of the actions of others. I have a good time with a little road rage now and then so I am not boycotting complaining because some days it's a part of survival mode. But I think we should challenge ourselves, in the midst of real, legitimate complaining, to also come forward with a solution. If you can't figure out how to make something better, then just keep it under wraps.
6. It is easy to forget that everyone around you has a million things going on too. It might not be about you. Whatever IT is. We spend some much time worrying and wondering why other people do things or being angry because they didn't do something. Circumstances. Period. Stuff happens. Life happens. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt.
7. It's easy to be so focused on everybody else that we forget to take care of ourselves. This is a HUGE one for me. God willing, I will get back to a place of balance in 2017.
8. Why are teenage girls so controlling with their boyfriends? (I know I didn't start that one off right...) It's easy to lose sight of our goals. That's what I meant to say. What are your goals? Your dreams? Why are you so worried about where he is and what he is doing and why he is taking 10 minutes to text you back? What are YOU DOING? Get up. Do something with your life. BE GREAT. Then he will be chasing after you. :)
9. It is easy to blame others for our situations, circumstances, state of mind. But why does that other person have so much more power over your life than you do? Just asking.
10. And finally, it is easy to give up. But I would suggest that more than ever, now is the time for you to just go for it. You might not get another chance.
Know that, I love you dearly. I look forward to seeing all the good that comes from each of you and your endeavors in 2017. Thank you for your loyalty, your kindness, your humor, and your love. Many days, you truly sustain me. Happy New Year everyone.