Well, it’s the last first blog of the month. (Kind of confusing, huh?) Well, I’ll bring you up to speed. My book, Finding Your Inner Moose, has twelve chapters, so all this year I’ve been dedicatin’ the first blog of the month to a chapter. We’re trying to incorporate a little change into our life each month, hoping it becomes habit. If you haven’t been tunin’ in, or want to revisit one of the past months, you can just scroll back. Pretty swanky, huh?
Chapter Twelve in the book is about summing it all up, so that’s what we’re gonna do. Ready?
January: Don’t bother with resolutions. Instead, set an intention to make little changes throughout the year. You can start off by finding out what your animal totem is. Don’t laugh! Go online and Google “finding your animal totem.” They have some quizzes there that are wicked fun to do, especially with a group of friends. Choose a trait from your animal, and try to work it more into your life. Here’s mine: “the moose teaches us to honor ourselves and reward ourselves for a job well done.” So my intention is to be a little kinder to myself (still workin’ on that one, believe me).
February: One of the biggest ways I sabotage myself in the happiness department is takin’ things too personal. I know I’m doin’ it when I start makin’ up stories about why someone’s doin’ what they’re doin,’ or not doin’ what I think they should be doin’. My change? If I start getting all balled up about someone or something, I’ll just stop and take a hard look at the story I’m spinning. “Just the facts, ma'am,” that’s my new motto. And let go of everything else.
March: Improve your overall health by doin’ one thing you know you should be doin’. Me? I’m focusin’ on standing and sitting up straight. I topped out at 5’2”, and I do believe I’m losin’ ground in that department. Not standin’ up straight when you’re a teenager, that’s called slouchin’. Not standing up straight when you’re my age? That’s just downright decrepit! Not trying to be Wonder Woman, here, but I’m not ready for decrepit, either. Sit up straight, Ida!
April: Agin’ is such a fun topic. Heck, you gotta laugh or you’ll cry, right? Two things to try here. Try exercisin’ your mind by doing everyday things with the other hand. I’m also committed to smilin’, even when I’m alone. Even when I don’t feel like it. ‘Cause somehow, the act of smiling makes you feel happier. I don’t know why, it just does. Plus, it lifts up the corners of your eyes and your whole face, really. Smiling is probably the closest I’m ever gonna come to gettin’ a facelift, and it’s free!
May: Focus on friends. Nowadays, with Facebook, texting and the like, it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re keeping up with folks. Call me old fashioned, but there’s a world of difference between “liking” your friend’s photo of her trip to Bermuda, and hearing her talk about it first hand, the two of you crackin’ up as she shares her stories of sunburns and Pina Coladas and that cute bartender at the cabana. Pick up the phone and call a friend you’ve been meaning to call. Sure it takes longer, but what’s the rush?
June: Charlie talks about rewardin’ effort, not outcome. You know, complimentin’ your wife even when you think she’s missed the mark, recognizin’ all the effort she put into how she looks. Which made me realize, I don’t always do this with Charlie. Now, I’m not talkin’ about complimentin’ his outfit, ‘cause, let’s face it, he doesn’t really put all that much effort into what he’s wearin’ in the first place. No, what comes to me is that Charlie puts a lot of effort into other things: doin’ stuff ‘round the house, makin’ little functional gewgaws (some of which do the job, but are ugly as all get out), fixin’ this and that, and keepin’ the yard ship shape. I don’t always show the proper appreciation for that stuff. How about treatin’ your significant other the way you want to be treated, and reward effort, not outcome?
July: If you’re not feeling happy and satisfied with your job, it may be time to ask yourself some important questions, like:
• What’s the best job you ever had?
• Why’d you like it?
• What parts of your current job do you like?
• What parts are you not so crazy about?
• Can anything be changed to make it better?
Listen, it’s not healthy to be miserable forty hours a week. It’ll just wear you down. I say, change your job or change your attitude.
August: Is there something in your life that’s served its purpose, but you’re still holding onto it? Could be a thing, a person, a group of people, a way of doin’ something, a way of looking at something. If that’s the case, let it go, baby! And trust that something bigger and better is on it’s way, ‘cause it is!
September: When you’re uncertain about what to do, here’s a way to make that hard decision easy. Imagine yourself going for it, and spend a day seeing how that feels. OK? Now imagine yourself not doing it. Any better? Go with the one that feels best. If you can’t tell which one feels best, then the options are so similar, it doesn’t really matter which one you chose. Select one and move on. Don’t waste any more time on it. Listen to your inner voice, and follow through.
October: What I’ve learned the hard way is that if I don’t take time to recharge and re-energize myself, I have nothing left to give Charlie, or anyone else. Livin’ the good life means making myself a priority every once in a while. Lately, one of the ways I’ve been recharging myself is taking a “list free day.” See, I’m a big list maker. I mean, I have lists up the ying-yang. So every once in awhile, I take a list-free day. I aim for once a week, though that doesn’t always happen. Sunday’s a good day for it. I do things as they come, with no agenda, asking myself throughout the day, “Do I really want to do this? Or is this just another gotta?” Takin’ a list-free day is incredibly liberating. ‘Course, you have to be a list maker to fully appreciate it! But whether you are or not, a chore free day sounds good, doesn’t it?
November: Have more fun. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s all too easy to lose track of that. Especially this time of year. Instead of buying gifts, try spending time with your friends and family. The last few years, my sister Irene and me stopped givin’ each other presents. Instead, we make a date to go on Bangor in January for a massage. We usually go out to eat after, even though our hair’s a wreck. January is a long, cold, dark month with not much goin’ on, and December’s overloaded with social commitments. What can you bump to January? It might be more fun in the new year.
And that’s our year of livin’ the good life. I’ll let my Grampy Gilbert have the last word, “Live your life on purpose, but stay open to happy accidents.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Coming Up Tonight:
December 2: Book Reading, Witherle Memorial Library, 6:00pm, Castine, ME
I love entertaining groups, small and large! The following are wicked fun for after lunch, after dinner, rewards banquets, keynote speeches and what not.
And if your book group wants to read Finding Your Inner Moose, I'd love to be part of the discussion. Especially if there's food involved!
For more information, visit my website: idaswebsite.com