Sunday, January 1, 2017

     With only two blogs short of 1000, the first day of the new year, 2017, sits before me a blank page. What can I write on this page that will energize my readers, inspire my followers, motivate my fans? I often think about ministers, preachers, priests who have to come up with a new angle on the classic moral themes week after week. “How do they do it?” I ask myself. The answer is that the moral themes are timeless, but new eyes and new
ears are experiencing them in their own time. The writer, speaker has to come up with a fresh voice so that those who didn’t hear it the first hundred times might hear it this particular one. Think about how often you have said, “Hmm. I thought I learned that lesson. Maybe not.” I know I’ve said that. One too many cocktails, one careless thought expressed at the wrong time, one over-reaction to a situation, one invitation not extended, one card not sent, one visit not made.

      The average New Years Resolution I learned lasts approximately 23 days (give or take a few). So why make a resolution? Why not just take an inventory of what’s working and tell yourself, “Good job. I will continue doing this.” I also learned that when you decide to change a behavior, you should write it down (In handwriting or printing—not typed), and you should phrase it in the positive, not negative. For example, “I will continue to brush and floss daily,” not “I will not forget to brush and floss daily.” The positive supposedly does something special in our brains, and the results are better.  

     So what will you continue to do that’s working for you? Eat well? Rest often? Call your Mom? Do those 100 crunches per day? Pick up your socks? 

    Last night, we went to a movie and out to dinner—our “Kick back New Years.” We saw a movie that was one of the finest examples of sensitive and powerful acting I’ve ever seen. Denzel Washington in “Fences” gave a performance of a lifetime. It’s a must see. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire two plus hours, and there was almost no action. The majority of the film takes place in a backyard the size of your bedroom closet (not you California closet people). After we did some deep breathing on the way out of the theatre, we headed to the restaurant. I decided to treat myself to my one and only drink of the last 10 months as we waited at the bar. I told the guy next to me that I was celebrating with my one precious Cosmo. As it turns out, the guy was all alone on New Years Eve because his girlfriend with whom he is still living was no longer in the picture. He was saying that being alone on holidays is the worst. I know. I’ve been there, and it is awful. Everyone around you is celebrating with friends and loved ones, and you are there alone and lonely with no joy in sight. I hope that the conversation that ensued between him and Mr. Wonderful and I cheered him a little or at least distracted him for a while so he didn’t have to focus on his misery. I told myself that sometimes strangers can offer more comfort than friends. You can say anything you want to a person at a bar, as you will never see her again, and you have nothing to lose by whatever impression you may have made. I told this guy that he looked like Damian Lewis in Homeland and The Billionaire. His face lit up, and he said, “I love The Billionaire!” 

     When Mr. Wonderful and I left the bar and went to our table, we looked at one another, and we both agreed that cheering this guy made us both feel like we were doing some good. Somehow I didn’t feel lame arriving home at 9:30 p.m. on New Years Eve. It was an evening well spent, and despite Ohio State’s disastrous loss, a few people went to bed feeling just a little better about themselves.

     My 2016 inventory suggests:  “Be the comforting stranger in someone’s life. It costs nothing, and it will bring a molecule of joy to someone in need.”