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My reflections heading into the Year of the Tiger

This post has a slightly different tone than the ones I’ve written in the past. A few things that I’ve learned over the last few days have had an intense emotional effect on me. I recently learned that a neighbor who I’ve grown very fond of now has stomach cancer and is struggling to accept how much their life has changed. Another friend told me of their marriage separation and how devastating it has been for them and their family. My first instinct was to think how can I help? But over the years and after many of my own difficult experiences, I hope that I’ve learned that sometimes people don’t need help. They just need kindness and that kindness can come in many forms from being an empathetic listener, flowers to brighten a day or a message just to check in and say how are you? 

I’ve felt so many emotions over the last few days and they’ve definitely made me pause and think about my own life and what I want to get out of it and the type of impact that I want to have on my family, friends and my community. As we enter the Year of the Tiger, there are two things that I want to focus on this year. Just two. Being grateful and being kind. For many reasons, I’ve had a reminder in the back of my head that keeps repeating “life is finite''. The time I get to spend with my family, reading books I love, eating food that I crave, laughing and drinking great wine, will all come to an end one day but instead of looking at it from a glass half full, I want to instead look at it from the perspective that everyday I have this amazing opportunity to truly be present and enjoy this life that I am living. My other goal is to spread kindness in one way each day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It can be anything that makes someone feel appreciated.

The question now becomes how do I actually go about doing this intentionally everyday? Not to say that I am ungrateful and don’t already show others kindness but I want to make it something I do every single day. I’m not into mantras or positive affirmations. I don’t meditate. I tried journaling about things that I was grateful for each day but it started to feel like a chore and I found myself trying to find things to be grateful for which felt really disingenuous so I stopped. I’ve been researching how to build these two concepts into my daily routine so that they remain at the forefront of my mind because I am human and I will forget. I also know that there will be moments when it all becomes so overwhelming that I will struggle to find the positive. So how will I do this? How will I commit to this? One idea that I’ve come across on how to incorporate gratitude into your everyday life is by simply telling others what you appreciate about them in that moment. Hopefully this will make others feel appreciated and help me to build stronger relationships with those around me. I think kindness is probably the easier of the two for me to manage because I am generally a thoughtful person and I find it easy to show kindness through a variety of ways such as words, actions, small tokens of appreciation and more. Don’t be afraid to ask me again in a month from now to keep me honest on how this journey is going. I hope that this is something that just comes naturally as the experiment progresses. Who knows, maybe one of my future posts will be about all the benefits of gratitude that everyone is always talking about. Day 1 starts now. 

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