Hello…hello

Recently I started saying “Good morning!” to everyone I’d meet early in the day. This simple gesture not only put me in a more upbeat frame of mind but also put smiles on the faces of most folks that I came across.
Emboldened, I extended my greeting to “Hello!” and “Good night!”, conversations, even. Next, I began holding the door open for the next person behind me, offering to get anything from the pantry and cafeteria for colleagues, while I was there. And, asking to join sole diners during lunch.
Some people seemed surprised at my gestures…of kindness, I guess. I’ve learned, for the first time in my life not to avoid doing something out of fear of rejection! Now, I embrace rejection because it tells me that I tried.

I feel like these simple acts are stoking a fire that’d dimmed over time and now my spirit is on fire.

Thrilling to Life

It’s true! I thrill to the mundane–something I avoided less than 5 years ago.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to exercise 30 minutes daily. Every night, I do reps with free weights before hopping into bed with my journal (or a good book), and every morning I do pushups, then I take a walk right after I see the children off to school. I’m totally thrilled by the crisp air embracing my skin, and I do not care what kind of weather it is (although it likely helps that I live in MD, where the weather has been relatively mild this year!) Come to think of it–I’m likely surpassing my exercise goals due to joy. Afterwards, I return to work from home, while listening to the classical music radio station.

Yesterday, my daughter was off from school and I couldn’t wait to take her to the newly built Miller library. And I wasn’t the only one thrilled to be there, it was packed! We experienced lots of pleasant interactions, moreso as I held my perfect daughter’s hand as she hopped with equisite joy down each step of a winding staircase.

On the shopping front, I get excited about the organic food store–experiencing new foods and more important new people! Today, I’m planning to make a trip to my favorite consignment shop located in Dupont Circle, to peruse ecclectic casual wear and explore textures and color. On Sundays we participate in free family art classes at the Baltimore Art museum–a unique experience for my children and I, an activity that truly engages all of our senses.

Thrilling to the pleasure created by myriad subtle embraces throughout the day, offering a deeper appreciation of this journey we call life.

Joy

In my younger years, I was one of the girls who only made friends with boys. Later, I grew to become a woman who wisely realized that I needed women in my life. But somehow I always felt I had to compromise my self somewhat to fit in with then. Men I thought, were more accepting of me and my quirks.

Now, I’m reading a book–Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister. A wonderful book about a woman recovering from cancer who challenges each of her five women friends to do what terrifies them most with insightul results. The book made me think about the joys I’ve been experiencing reecently and how they came about. I’m making new friends and acquaintences–one. a Hungarian divorcee whose daughter is my daughter’s BFF. Through play dates we’ve become fast friends and recently signed each other up as emergency contacts for aftercare. And today while waiting for the school bus I noticed an Indian woman releasing her little girl to join my daughter and her BFF–the three of them in matching assembles of pink, purple, and white. Later my daughter told me the girl was a member of their trio. And perhaps, I thought an opportunity for me to make another friend in my community! On my daily walks I meet the same elderly Chinese woman at the same point along my path. She speaks little English but always communicates to me in ways that make it clear that she is complementing my look and carriage, starting my day on a bright note. Today, at the bus stop I noticed her acting in grandmotherly fashion toward my daughter and her two BFFs, a proud senior matron escorting chattering charges on to the school bus.

I correspond routinely with my daughter’s teacher–sort of an email pal and it’s reassuring to know she looks out for my daughter, whose frequently surprised at how much I know about what’s happening with her in class, not being there myself!

Recently, my daughter’s school announced that they will be hosting an International Family night in March and I decided to volunteer, offering Nigerian artifacts, something I would’ve avoided in the past in my attempt to minimize differences. Now, looking forward to it!

What I’ve learned so far is that differences make each and every one of us unique and interesting, and ultimately more appealing.

The more time we spend with each other the more the benefits become abundantly clear.

And…vulnerability is a good thing.

Maslow’s hierarchy of resolutions

I’ve been making New Years Resolutions for at least 10 years. I write about 5 specific significant resolutions on a 3 x 5 index card, tape it to my bathroom mirror and review periodically to assess progress. Works for me! At the end of each year I review the year’s resolutions and those from previous years, then I write down next year’s resolutions.

Unlike feedback from various articles that say resolutions don’t work, mine are pretty effective, because the resolutions are smart; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time targeted. Also I’ve noticed over the years my goals have shifted from basic needs to health, wellness, and spiritual goals.

It’s gonna be a great year.

Hip, hip, hooray..!

Today’s my birthday and strangely I feel…chill. You know, like REALLY relaxed.

I did the same things that I do most days-yes, even worked! And I parented or more accurately mothered my perfect children.

My 5 year old chirped “Happy Birthday Mom!” as soon as she laid eyes on me this morning and gave me a makeshift present–assembled from various loose ends from her toy box. Her 3 year old brother gazed at me with large liquid brown eyes, gave me the warmest, tightest hug and said “Mommy I have nothing to give you.”

I’m blessed.

In the past year, I’ve become more confident of my abilities, more focused, more efficient (both in movement and words), more accepting, and more open. And boy have I read a lot of books!

To other kindred spririts sharing a December birthday, I wish you many happy returns of the day, long life and prosperity.

You’ve come a long way, baby…

This was the best christmas ever. Spent in the loving embrace of family and friends. The current economic situation has brought its blessing by taking more of the focus away from conspicuous consumption and put more focus on experiences: warmth, laughter, love, touch, conversation, and good home cooking from scratch!

I watched my perfect children in bloom under all the attention from the people who (it seems only yesterday) were their age.

This year, with my mother getting older, I took over the bulk of the Christmas cooking, at her home. It involved a lot of hard work that in previous years, I’d taken for granted. Both she and my father-in-law were relieved.

At the end of the evening, by unanimous decision I was asked to host next year’s Christmas.

I may be ageless, but I’ve finally grown up.