1. Everyone has a story. There is no doubt about it in my mind. You may not “think” that you have a story, but daggum it, you do. You may think that you have a boring and mundane life but I can guarantee that if you and I sat down to talk I would be able to get “the story” out of you that makes you you. It is a gift of sorts. Out of the most insignificant and inconsequential things come stories and truths. Give it time to develop.
2. Most people just need someone to listen to them. Yep, that cashier, the librarian, the mail carrier and the random person in the mall—they all have things going on and sometimes they just need to tell someone about them. It may not be your idea of what you were intending to do that day but if you stop and take the time chances are you will learn their story from number 1.
3. The past is the past. Too often I think we dwell in the past and let it make excuses for our actions in the present. I do not discount the importance of the past. It does shape us to be the individuals that we are today but at some point it is up to each individual to take responsibility and stand in the present without blaming the past for our problems today. Grow up! Be who you are meant to be today—not the person who uses the past to make excuses .
4. Smallness is not just a stature thing. The people in life that I have observed who are happy with their lot in life and content are most frequently the ones who have experienced the world outside of a small circle. In other words, they have lived. They have allowed their minds to embrace all kinds of ideas and thoughts and are not limited to always thinking that they have it all figured out.
5. Life is better lived big. I truly believe that the limitations that we have are merely the limitations that we place on ourselves. We can be bigger—we can live bigger and by bigger I mean a fuller and more complete life. Sometimes it is difficult to push ourselves but in the end I do believe that it is what we were born to do—push ourselves to be the bigger and better version of ourselves. Push the envelope. Punch into the clouds. Go the distance. Be all that you can be. (My apologies to the US Army on that one.)
6. A little compassion can change a person. How many people do you know that go through life just being sad and alone? Opening a door for someone, leaving a spot open on a bench so someone can have a seat instead of taking up all the space, leaving a little extra tip—these all can turn the tide of someone’s day. Just looking someone in the eyes and wishing them a nice day is a simple enough thing to do and can make that person feel like they are important.
7. Older folks are a gift. They are a wealth of knowledge and experience that we should tap into. How many times I have had a conversation with an octogenarian and later thought how wise they were and how much I learned from a short exchange. Many cultures revere their elderly and they have high places of honor. That should be the norm and not the exception.
8. A good belly laugh is good for whatever ails you. Sometimes laughter is just what is needed. Even in times of sadness and sorrow the body needs to experience laughter and not just a chuckle–that full rolling belly shaking laugh that brings tears to your eyes. You know the kind I am talking about. The kind that happens when best friends get together and relive old experiences that were most likely better left in the past!
9. There are songs for every occasion. If you are feeling it there is absolutely a song for it. It never ceases to amaze me how much music is a part of my life and of my memories. The simple opening strains of the theme from The Summer Place bring back memories of a hospital gown with little chicks on it, waking up and wondering where my mom and dad were when I was in the hospital for pneumonia when I was very young. The Hallelujah Chorus reminds me of being woken up on Saturday mornings in my childhood to do our chores. There are so many memories associated with music and so much of my life is wrapped up in lyrics. That, my friends, is a wonderful thing.
10. You can make a difference. I truly believe this. If you want to make a difference you can. It does not require riches or fame. It does not require a huge blog audience (though that might help!). It just requires YOU to take action on whatever is on your heart. If it is to stop bullying in schools–formulate a plan with your local school. If it is to clean up the environment—-start recycling and carrying green bags to the store. If it is to help children who don’t have shoes to wear—buy a pair of TOMS. If it is to improve the lives of animals who need some tender loving care–volunteer at your local animal shelter. There is always a place that YOU can make a difference.
11. There is absolutely no down side to generosity. Recently fellow blogger, Katybeth, from Odd Loves Company and I had a discussion. She is a very generous person and that shines through her in many ways—including the unexpected gift of cute little teacup and teapot candles that appeared in my mailbox. We had a conversation about how it feels to be able to do something for someone, to donate or to actually do a kindness for someone and why we do it. She stated that she could find “no downside to generosity” and that quote has stuck with me. I have to agree. Finding new ways to improve someone else’s life can only be a positive thing, at least as far as I have experienced.
12. Life can change in an instant and often does. This one has been brought home to me in the past couple of weeks when good friends were in a freak car vs. deer accident. One moment they were traveling along on a trip home from Thanksgiving and the next minute a deer changed their lives forever. We are not promised a tomorrow and it makes it even more urgent to me to do the best I can do every single day.
13. You can never say “I love you” too frequently. That’s a fact. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Every day. Multiple times a day. Whenever you can. No regrets.