It’s a new season. How about trying something new? Here are five things I challenge you to do. Sure, most of them seem like no brainers, but I can tell you this much: most of us forget life’s easiest lessons. At sixty-one years old, I have to remind myself of the basics too (or maybe I’m just getting forgetful in my old age).
Good luck and let me know how you do.
Yes, that’s right. You read it correctly. Cry. Sometimes you need a good cry to get rid of all that negativity going on around you. When you cry, you tend to go through a lot of emotions and purge all of that energy you’ve had bottled up. Come on, haven’t you felt better after a good cry? April showers bring May flowers and all of that — the same sentiment is true of crying. And besides, like my mother told me, crying washes your eyes.
Smile every day of your life. It can bring happiness when you least expect it. Growing up, I worked at a nursing home to see if I wanted to become a nurse. I had to check-in on the residents, see if they needed anything and basically do whatever the nurses asked. Most of the elderly people were kind and for the most part pleasant when I came around. However, there was one woman who always sat in in silence. She’d stare out the window blankly, avoiding everyone. I’m not sure why, but I started smiling at her every time I walked into her room. At first, she didn’t acknowledge me, but I was unfazed and continued to smile. A few weeks later, I could’ve sworn that I saw her lips turn upward. I returned the next day to confirm it and I started to see the faintest hint of a smile from her. As the summer went on, her smile grew, but we’d never said a word. I’d leave the room and peak around the door and notice that she still had the same expression on her face. By the time I went back to school, the old woman was smiling at everyone around her. A nurse told me on my last day that the woman didn’t want to be in a nursing home. By me smiling at her everyday, it helped bring her out of her depression. So even today I keep smiling because perhaps that could be me one day who needs a smile in return. Sometimes a gray sky is covering up the sun, but the sun hasn’t disappeared.
Be a good listener, to others and yourself. I think listening is one of the harder lessons in life. We hear the sounds coming out of someone’s mouth, but don’t always actually listen. We glide over not only what someone is saying, but how they’re saying it and miss out on some very important information, both logical and emotional. We barely even talk anymore — what with all of the emails, text messaging and Facebook. We are voluntarily making listening obsolete that it’s no wonder it’s so difficult to do. Trust me when I tell you, listening prepares you for the things to come. But you have to work on it everyday of your life. Do you hear what I’m saying?
I couldn’t agree more with Charlie Chaplin when he said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” And boy do I sure love to laugh. I feel like I’ve been cheated if I haven’t had at least one good laugh a day; even if it’s over the silliest of things. Besides, it’s good for you. It lowers your blood pressure, eases tension and in general makes you a more pleasant person to be around. I look everywhere in my daily life for opportunities to laugh even at the doctors office in the most uncomfortable and unflattering positions.
5. LOVE YOURSELF
It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s something we forget to do. Often, we’re our own worst enemies. It’s so important to be kind to yourself, because there’s only one of you. Last summer, when my granddaughters came for a visit they were excited to go to our local pool. I too was looking forward to a fun day, but had some trepidation because I had gained some weight. The idea of putting on my swimsuit nearly paralyzed me with fear. However, I didn’t want to disappoint them. When the time came to get in the water without the security of my cover-up, I kept repeating to myself, “You look great just the way you are. There’s only one you. You’re a beautiful person — just get in the water.” I know that I’m not a size four, but I am worthy of loving myself for the person I am. I’ve said that to myself enough times where I’m actually looking forward to going back this summer.
Now having said all that, I believe life is what you make of it. Find the lessons that work for you. As you get older it will all change again — just like the seasons. Every lesson is not easy all the time; I can certainly vouch for that. For me, I try to embrace whatever life throws my way — good or bad.
Hand of 86th Year Old image via Shutterstock