How to Make it a Happy New Year

Waking up on a couch on New Year's Day (not because I drank and crashed there, but because I chose to stay with family instead of sharing the freeway with drivers who over-indulged in mind- and body-altering libations), the sounds of the new year came into focus: the ta-ta, ta-ta rhythm of my mother's slippers tapping the floor as she strolled in the room, the pharumph of my teenage nephew's tush sitting on me to welcome me into the year, the sound of those over 50 (I won't say who you are) shaking their fiber and water to help move things along, hearing the younger generation teaching their grandma how to use the voice memo on her new iPhone, listening to my niece streaming Friends finally available on Netflix, the buzzing of my phone with my daughter at the other end wanting to be my first call of the year to say good morning. It was a veritable symphony for a comforting awakening to a new day, to a new year.

For the past two years on New Year's, I have written about what I would tell my younger self to help start the year, not necessarily with resolutions, but with thoughts and lessons. This time, as I reflect back on the last 365 days, I have observed, listened and learned from others around me, and it is their courage, actions and words of wisdom that I am using to motivate and take to heart on this, the precipice of a new year:

Watching my mother care for her 103-year-old mom ensuring that she has the best quality of life possible, has shown me how important it is to respect old age. Also, how crucial it is that while we care for those we love, we need to give ourselves the oxygen mask first so that we don't compromise our own physical and mental health.

Watching people I love and care about, deal with scary diagnoses, disease, and treatments with courage, optimism and strength; staring fear in the face, bulldozing right past it with a big F-U.

Watching my kids figure out the direction of their lives, bravely swimming through the growing pains, tackling what needs to be done regardless of overwhelm.

Watching people I care about deal with changes due to health, injury and/or loss, teaching me that you can adjust to change, be it temporary or permanent, without letting it define you. They adapted and learned to live differently, while still finding happiness, even when it seemed impossible.

Watching friends struggle with unemployment, personal demons, and empty bank accounts, yet they push forward with hope, determination and magnificent resilience.

With all the challenges we face personally and universally, instead of making resolutions that I think set us up for disappointments or even defeat, I suggest we set ourselves up for making positive strides by listening to, and learning from one another.

To do this, I propose we start the new year with our heads up (out of the phone) to see what we can observe and discover in order to make each day of the year an opportunity to be our best selves... to be what we want and deserve to be. And don't forget to notice, as I experienced this New Year's morning, the most simple, yet wondrous things that make life great.

How we see life, and how we respond to what happens, will determine the level of happy in our days, and in our year.

Make it a happy New Year!

And as always...

Live passionately and vulnerably