Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fewer than 5 minutes invested—and lives made better

Here are some things to consider doing in 2008—just in case you hadn’t gotten around to doing the whole new year’s resolutions thing yet… (And remember: The life you better may be your own.)

I’ll let you decide which of these things I already do, and which ones are my resolutions for 2008.

• Floss your teeth if you’ve got ‘em. Yes, daily. You won’t regret it. You’ll find things hidden in those tight spaces that make you shudder—and that absolutely confirm your decision to take the time.

• Give away something valuable that you don’t use. Better yet, think hard and give it directly to someone who really can use it. You’ll bless them, and you’ll be blessed, both by the giving and by the free space that results.

• Stretch your muscles. (I could be a complete hypocrite here and tout the benefits of exercise… but any of you who know me well would know it was lies, all lies. Stretching would be a “stretch” for me at this point.)

• Take some time each day to turn off all electronic devices, sit alone, and listen to quiet. As Margaret Wise Brown said, “For when it is quiet, first there are no sounds, and then there are some…” You’ll never hear many auditory treats of this world if you don’t listen.

• Speak about one-third as often as you’d like to. Or less. Keeping this blog has shown me, in so many ways, that most of my thoughts are not fit for public consumption. If you’re anything like me (human, thereby flawed), most of what’s spinning in your head is opinion-driven and self-absorbed. I’m rarely sorry for holding my tongue; on the flip side, I’m often regretful when I spew every thought, even those that seemed quite worthy of sharing at the time.

• Next time you think about calling someone or writing a note or card, for whatever reason, do it right at that moment. Don’t wait, or it likely won’t happen, and that would be a shame.

• Eat a serving of raw vegetables every day. No excuses! It’s good for you, helps your body metabolize more efficiently, and with the plethora of choices in our global culture, you’re sure to find at least one veggie you can stomach. Baby carrots dipped in light creamy salad dressing are my favorites. In light of E. coli madness of late, wash your veggies first to be safe. And remember—the just-trimmed heads of greens are better than the pre-cut, pre-bagged stuff.

• Read a little bit of the Bible. It's still the best self-help book out there; that author really knows what He’s talking about!

• Leave a comment here or send an email to a blogger you know, just to let him/her know that you actually read this nonsense. It’ll make his/her day!


Kathleen Cahalan said...

Hi Mel, I read your blog almost every day. And I have been putting something off. So, in the spirit of following your advice, I am leaving a question for you here: have you read The Birdhouse Chronicles by Cathleen Miller? If you haven't, I'd like to send it to you (along with a book of yours I have.) I think you will enjoy the Birdhouse book.

Mel said...

Kathleen!!! How nice to hear from you, my dear! No, I have not read that book. The title alone is quite intriguing. But don't send it--this is a perfect excuse to get together!

Anonymous said...

Mel -

My New Year's resolution actually started a few weeks before. While bemoaning some personal troubles to a friend, he said "Hey, lighten up. Have you been diagnosed with cancer or any other fatal disease?" "No," I said. "Is anyone you love lying bleeding in the emergency room?" he asked. "No," I said. "Well, then, life isn't really so bad, is it?" he said. "Wait a day or so and you'll see - everything will work itself out." He was right; a few days later, things were working out, and as I looked back on other things I'd worried about, I saw where they had all worked out, almost always without major problems. So, I am making an attempt to take his words to heart - when I feel myself getting freaky about things, I stop and ask myself - Have I been diagnosed with a fatal disease? Is anyone I know bleeding in the emergency room? No? Well, then, things will probably work out. It's not easy, but it helps me waste less time on worrying about things I can't control anyway!

Mel said...

athelas, your friend is right. although, technically, even if you were diagnosed, or someone you knew was bleeding, we are STILL instructed not to worry. right?

so you don't need to waste your time worrying no matter what. because as you said, we can't control it anyway. (but we can pray!)

here's to lightening up!