By Neal Lemery (12/28/2018)
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. “ –Neil Gaiman
- I will love myself. I will remind myself that I am worthy of love, and the most important person in my life who should love me is me. This affirmation allows me to set aside the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” negative self-talk, the “I’m not good enough” thinking that often can stop me in my tracks, push me off the rails, and cloud my mind with dark thoughts leading me to believe I am a failure, so why even try.
- I will be grateful every day, for the day, the opportunities, the possibilities of each and every day. I am able to do so many things, and I need to remind myself of that truth.
- I will not take good health for granted, and will try to view health as a gift, and an opportunity.
- I will honor my friendships and my commitments to others. I will be kind, I will speak truth, I will not gossip.
- I will remind myself that I do not walk in the shoes of others, and do not truly know their journey, their pain, their worries. I will be the change I want to see in the world.
- I will strive to recognize the value of empathy in my life and my relationships. I will strive to “walk a mile in their moccasins”.
- I will ask for help when I need it.
- I will be an instrument of change, of goodness, and peace. I recognize I am capable of doing the opposite, but I have a choice, and I choose goodness.
- I will practice self care. I will eat wisely, exercise, be in nature, and take time to find myself in a place (physically, mentally, spiritually) where I can find calm, serenity, tranquility, and balance. The most important medical care provider for me is me.
- Food is medicine. So is nature, and time with myself.
- I will reduce the drama in my life, and seek to avoid those who are toxic and try to overwhelm me with their drama and chaos. I recognize that toxic people exhaust me, sap my creative spirit, deny me from achieving my destiny, and distract me from the joys in my life. I will seek to not be dramatic and toxic.
- I will read thoughtful, challenging books, and engage in meaningful, purposeful conversations with others, and surround myself with intelligence and compassion. I will welcome new ideas and perspectives. I will be open to being better informed, and to change my opinions accordingly.
- I will nurture my creativity, by intentionally surrounding myself with creativity, art, music, and the positive energy and spirit of others. I will be deliberate with my time, and intentionally take time to nurture myself and my creativity.
- I will reach out to the sick, the lonely, the imprisoned, the addicted, and be compassionate. I will listen more than talk. (I have one mouth, and two ears.) I will try not to judge, nor condemn. I will remind myself that I need to seek understanding of their journey.
- I recognize that I can be a builder in my community, and how this community lives and grows is, in part, my responsibility. I can be a destroyer or a nurturer. I get to choose, and I will strive to choose wisely.
- I am a human being, not necessarily a human doing. Being busy isn’t necessarily better.
- I will not be an instrument for communicating and perpetuating lies, mistruths, half truths, and propaganda. I will strive not to be manipulated. I will exercise self-care when exposed to any of that “information”. I will do so with caution, reserve, and skepticism. I will be a critical thinker. When I communicate with others, I will recognize that I am a guardian of truth and will strive to be accurate, thoughtful, and exercise sound judgement. I will be aware of my biases and prejudices and will so inform my audience.
- I will strive to apply the “five year rule” to the situation at hand, and my actions, my words, and my relationships. “Will this really matter five years from now?” And, if the answer is no, then I can let it be, and move on. The topic at hand may not be all that important, and I need to find comfort and peace in understanding that. Breathe out and let it go. I am in charge of how I feel and I how I react.
Neal Lemery, a retired judge and now a community volunteer, is the author of Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains, Homegrown Tomatoes: Essays and Musings From My Garden, and Finding My Muse on Main Street. More information is available at http://neallemery.com