A New Year to Appreciate

At this time of year, most of us make resolutions to change something we don’t like about ourselves.  We announce it is time to lose weight or stop biting our fingernails.  Occasionally, these declarations really stick and we find ourselves healthier, happier, and manicured.

But most of the time, by the middle of January we have forgotten our resolutions. Gyms are less crowded, and we are back to business as usual.

In an effort to really improve my life a number of years ago, I resolved to change my resolutions. No more beating myself up with goals focused on how I look in the mirror.  Instead, I choose to focus on my relationships.  My favorite and most successful resolution since I switched gears was the year I decided to dote on my grandmother, Billie, for an entire year.

For anyone out there who hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting her, she is pretty much the best version of a person you can find.  Kind, generous, friendly, thankful… I could go on like this for hours.  When I lived with her as a teenager, she would get up at 5:30 a.m. to cook me breakfast.  She helped me move into my college dorm and made sure I had new pajamas for the first night.  She manages to be Southern Baptist and fiercely Democrat at the same time – and takes a month-long break from communicating with her best friend of over 70 years before every Presidential election to avoid arguing about politics.

Doting on her was a pleasure. Handwritten notes and gifts were dropped in the mail. Visits were scheduled. Phone calls were a priority. By the end of the year, we were closer than ever even with the Mississippi River between us.

Each moment I spent appreciating the one-and-only Billie was a gift. It was a moment I wasn’t staring at myself looking for imperfections or complaining about something. I wasn’t gossiping about a random celebrity break-up or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. Instead I was “actively grand-daughtering” which translates into “actively loving.”

So, as you hang your 2016 Community Foundation calendar and take down your holiday decorations, feel free to borrow this idea.  Put down the mirror and pick up the phone.  I promise you will look great all year with someone you love on the top of your mind. 

Happy New Year!