Yesterday I was out shopping for some paper goods. As I was in the store aisle, the woman next to me asked me to get some cups that were on a higher shelf. As someone who fibs about being 5’3”, I’m rarely asked to get something off a higher shelf. And she was about my height too, but I didn’t hesitate and got the cups. She said that if she reached, she’d hurt herself and it was a year of six surgeries. We talked for a few minutes and she’s been in the hospital 302 days this year. 302! And there she was in Party City buying party supplies because she was determined to bring in 2017 with a smile.
2016 is almost over. In the last week I’ve seen so many posts about how much it sucked. The whole year! This makes me really think until I realized – I can’t think like that. That’s just not me. I’m learning over the course of my life that some years are definitely better than others, but I think we need to ask ourselves why? There will be deaths, sicknesses, crises, elections, crimes, consequences, major life events, and simple day-to-day stuff. Some of us had some real challenging times this past year. Some of us have had some incredible opportunities this past year. It’s rare that the entire year was bad or good. Did people die this year? Yeah. We’ve had some major loss. Every year people will die, and as we get older, more and more will be deeply felt – as will our own mortality. Each time I hear of one more icon I first get really sad, but then what happens is the celebration of the life. And how awesome is that? People start posting the great quotes or moments of those lives to share all the good. Why don’t we do that all the time – BEFOREHAND?!
Our life – however long it is – is measured not in years lived, but moments cherished and remembered. And there will be deaths of icons as well as family and friends. There will be sicknesses and hospital visits. There will be world crises as well as hate crimes and personal tragedies. We have options how much a year can suck or not. We have options to live and celebrate our days, our small and big victories. Our options are in how we process it all.
Last year at this time I blogged about my 2016 theme – nourishment. I had decided against resolutions but had a theme. My own nourishment paralleled Weight Watchers program last year of Food, Fitness, Fulfillment. I loved having a theme because for the first time, it was easy to follow. I scheduled healthy meals, activity as well as food for my soul. I tried new recipes, took a Pilates class, visited and met fantastic people that are so close to my heart. I nurtured the relationships I already had with family and friends and my members. I met new people that instantly felt like they were family. I helped members with their weight loss goals seeing the victories that are really beyond the scale. A year of nourishment that has me really proud and happy.
This year Weight Watchers theme is Live Fully. Just imagine! What a simple phrase that can take us all so far. I need to narrow this down for myself and have another theme – one that will take me farther outside my comfort zone than “nourish” was. You see I’m a natural nurturer so “nourishing” came a bit easy for me. I didn’t live as fully as I could have – although I had quite a full year. I thought of different words to push me but didn’t want it to be negative – that’s not me. And then I thought about what I share with my members – what do I encourage THEM to do? A common saying I’ve heard in Weight Watchers is “Magic happens outside your comfort zone.” I need to get out of that zone but not too much that I stop.
So the theme for me will be bravery. Bravery to me means speaking out for those people and issues I believe need more honesty and help. It means saying and doing the right thing without holding back, writing from my heart and maybe posting more than I have without the fear of repercussions. It means I should take a class or two or three to expand my body and my mind. It means I should push myself outside this comfort zone I live inside and maybe try to be an expert at something and not settle for good or good enough. Everyone who is an expert was a beginner once, right? In thinking of all those icons we lost this past year – they stepped out of their comfort zones. They had to be brave to get where they were. It’s not honoring them to just talk about them and remembering what they did and said so much as DOING a little more with our lives.
I don’t just want to celebrate those icons and wait for them to die. I want to celebrate the day-to-day people with whom I surround myself. I think instead of celebrating and rehashing the celebrity stories, we need to create our own. I think instead of complaining about who is in office, I need to work hard to make my own community the best. I think instead of throwing my hands up in the air on who is gone, I celebrate who is here.
Create your story. I’m going to create a new chapter to mine. I will be brave with my food, my activity, and my spare time. I’m going to toast the woman in the paper goods store and honor her by doing more with my days than work and sitting on the couch.
2017 – living fully by being brave! Come with me!