Write your chapter wisely in 2017. . .
"New Year -- a new chapter, new verse or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours" -- Alex Moritt
A New Year brings infinite new possibilities. A clean slate. A reason to erase past mistakes and start afresh. We all know that resolutions don't always stick. But for a shot at real happiness, try penning a set of personal commandments (an idea borrowed from best-selling author Gretchen Rubin).
I would suggest writing them down and keeping them handy. This may make you laugh, but I have mine scribbled on a post-it note stuck to an ancient, long-expired Bed & Bath coupon. Anytime I'm stuck in traffic, listening to Justin Beiber’s 'Love Yourself' repeat itself for the 4th time in a 60-minute window, I find myself pulling out my handy-dandy list and ruminating on what's important.
Here's my list. . .to help you get started on your own:
- More adventures.
- More creating
- More laughter
- More sleep. "Sleep is the best meditation" -Dalai Lama
- Less negativity.
- Less stress
- Speak good words. Think good thoughts. Do good deeds. Equals More happiness
- Practice kindness to strangers
- Remember that enough is abundance.
- Drink less.
- Forget and forgive.
- Meditate daily.
- Make time for friends who matter. Abandon those who don't.
- Be grateful.
- Enjoy the journey.
So how do you come up with your own list?
Consider what someone may have said to you that stuck with you. For instance, as to my commandment # 3, a wise friend once said to me, “You’re a very serious person." That made me think, and I realized she was right. While there's absolutely nothing wrong in being a serious person, the world around us is an unhappy place—anytime you turn on the television, there's people dying from terrorism, war or natural disasters in every part of the world. If you're lucky to have your health, a good-enough bank balance and your children are safe, you're blessed. So, lighten up.
Same with the phrase, "Enough is abundance to the wise." That's not mine. It's actually Euripides who said that. But I like it, so I'm going to keep it.
Keep in mind what's true for me may not be so for you. For instance, I've decided to drink less wine. Although I love the taste of it, I find I get too sleepy or emotional after I've had a glass or... three. And, I don't enjoy the feeling of waking up at dawn holding the back of my head in extreme agony. For some reason, it reminds me of Gulliver shipwrecked on the island of Lilliput who, when he awakens, discovers he's fastened to the ground by tiny men no taller than 6 inches tall. It's as if those tiny men are dancing at the back of my skull with hob-nailed boots. Not a pretty feeling!
It's fascinating to find out what other people's commandments are. I asked my hair stylist for hers. Here they are:
- Travel more (while I still can).
- Watch less T.V. and read more.
- Plan for my retirement. "I'm in my 50's," she says, "and I can't put it off any longer."
- Stay in touch.
- Spend more time cooking with my husband. Her husband, a chef, likes to cook and that's an easy way for them to bring more intimacy in their relationship. "Now that the kids are gone, I want to build on my relationship with him. After all, who's going to drive me to the hospital when I need care?" she finishes with a wink in her eye.
What about getting started on your commandments?