The Mental Skillness 2012 New Year’s Challenge
I was hanging out with one of my best friends on New Year’s Eve, and he reminded me of a present that I gave him quite a few years ago, when his cat died. His cat, Woogie, had been in his life since he was 5 years old and so he took Woogie’s death pretty hard, as you can imagine. So I decided to make him something to celebrate Woogie’s life and remember all the joy that Woogie had brought to him over the years.
I found a little basket and set to work filling it with a bunch of small pieces of paper. On each scrap of paper I wrote a fact about Woogie — something that would make my friend feel happy, or hopefully laugh. Since I didn’t know Woogie personally all that well, I did take some liberties. I’m pretty sure that Woogie never circumnavigated the globe with Magellan, for example, or won the 2004 Top Hat of the Year contest (although he probably should have). And I can’t say with certainty that his favorite sandwich was grilled cheese (but why wouldn’t it be?) I did include lots of things that I knew to be true, though. Like the fact that Woogie was a very debonair fellow, or that he sometimes seemed grumpy but was really a softie at heart, or that he always knew when my friend was feeling down. Mainly I just had a lot of fun imagining Woogie’s adventures and escapades and putting them on paper. I figured that if my friend read one note about Woogie each day, it would help him to celebrate Woogie’s life and hopefully provide some solace in dealing with the loss of his childhood pal.
Anyway, I had forgotten about the whole thing, but when we were talking about it on New Years Eve he told me that it was the best gift anyone has ever given him, which was awesome. And it got me thinking. It’s so easy to get caught up in life’s worries. The world can be a busy and stressful place at times, and many of us are juggling the pressures of career, family, and relationships, while trying to find balance and meaning in our lives. Am I right? You feel it too, don’t you? That’s fine, we’re all in this together. Sometimes, though, our worries about the past, present and future can creep in and hold us back from embracing the many wonderful experiences that life has to offer. I’m not saying that things should always be perfect (that’s impossible), or that unfortunate events don’t happen, but it really is crucial to take the time to recognize and enjoy the things that make us happy. As for me, there are so many things that make me happy! Some of them are big. But most of them are just the small little details in life that may not seem like a lot…but if they inspire some modicum of joy, then I say great! Let’s focus on those. Like the oranges wearing sunglasses at the top of this page. I mean…oranges in sunglasses!!!! How great is that??!
As sappy and sentimental as this sounds, life is constantly bringing us gifts. Most of them are small. Like a song you like that comes on at exactly the right time. Or hanging out with a friend that makes you laugh. Or finding the perfect gift for someone. Or oranges in sunglasses. Whatever it is that makes you happy, that’s a huge part of who you are. And you should celebrate it! So with that in mind, I am dubbing my New Year’s resolution for 2012 the ‘365 Days of Joy’. I’ve put together my own basket containing scraps of paper on which I’ve written down 365 random things that bring joy to my life, and I’m going to pick one each day and write about it. I think it’ll be a good reminder that all the little things can add up to a lot.
If you happen to stumble upon this blog, I hope that it amuses you! And if you’re feeling down, or just coping with the stresses of daily life, don’t worry — YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I’ll be hanging out here, talking about robots, and art school, and raccoons smoking cigarettes (just some of the many things that make me happy). Join me whenever you want! 365 Days of Joy begins today. Happy New Year!