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.
About a year ago I read a book called the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It inspired me to do little things that weren’t necessarily pleasureable but led to greater happiness, such as, meditating while waiting for traffic or the cashier at the store, making the time to do things I enjoyed but spent little time on, like playing with my children.
The book also inspired me to make resolutions including seeking a new role at my company, pay off all my debts ($50k worth in a year), move closer to family, exercise one hour daily, and get to know the community in which I live better. All these I have done successfully even though prior to reading the book I thought some things on my list nearly impossible to achieve. Once I became more mindful of these things somehow, I achieved them. In fact, I learned that success in one resolution led to success in another!
Recently, I finished reading a book called “Twenty Wishes” by Debbie Macomber. It has now inspired me to create a list of twenty things that I’ve always wanted to do but never found the time or courage and things I used to enjoy but stopped doing for some reason. So far, I’ve ten things on my list including falling in love, learning Spanish, visiting Paris, learning to knit to name a few.
I am so excited about this challenge! One thing that I noticed about the book was that at the beginning of the challenge each fictional character, like myself, had doubts about achieving their wishes. Yet they each took a single step towards success, and challenged themselves at a point where they might’ve walked away.
Ultimately, they all got their wishes.
I expect to also.
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.