November 22, 2013

10 Little Things...

I've been reading through a few interesting posts this week and I came across this article about 10 Little Things We Can Do To Make Life Easier For One Another. I thought I'd make a similar list, but put my own spin on it. I think it's a wonderful way to usher in Thanksgiving.

1. Say thank you. I don't care what you're doing or how busy you are, take the time to say thank you....when someone brings you something, opens the door for you, offers you help, pays you a compliment, or just because you appreciate what they're doing.

2. Pay more compliments. People need to hear that they are appreciated. Sometimes the things we do are payment enough, but it makes it that much sweeter when a person notices. Compliment someone when they look good, when they do a good deed, when they help someone out, when they help you out. There is never a shortage of reasons why you can't compliment someone. And it's never too late. Thank your parents or grandparents for all those little things you should have said so long ago.

3. Send more letters and gifts. I love technology too, and being able to communicate with my children at any time is an invaluable gift, but we need to put our thoughts down on paper and pass it along. Cards are lovely, but nothing compares to a letter. Even if it's just a quick note, send it along. I know buying someone a gift can be expensive, but the best gifts are given from the heart, so even if it's just a pencil or bookmark you know they'd absolutely love, why not wrap it up and give it to them (with a nice little letter of course).

4. Help people. There is nothing more valuable (or precious) than time, but when we give it away, something remarkable happens. I recently wrote about our angel of a neighbor; he is the ultimate helper. My own dear husband would give you the shirt off his back and is one of the kindest people I know. We may talk about helping more, but we have to start doing it. Just one little thing every now and then will make a huge difference to someone else.

5. Be kind. I tell my children all the time, "I don't care what you do in this life, just do it well and with integrity." My father used to tell me I was just as good as anyone else and I took that to heart. I worked in an industry where I was surrounded by wealthy, influential, and important people. I never once wavered (okay, I got a little giddy when I was helping Kathleen Turner), but I never felt like I didn't belong somewhere no matter what my role was. Be kind to the people who take out your trash, do your taxes, or invite you to a state dinnerto me they are all the same.

6. Make more friends. Easier said than done sometimes, but what I really mean is don't be afraid to put yourself out there. For years I hid away and avoided social gatherings because I was ashamed of my weight. I now realized that I missed out on a lot of life and that's just nonsense. When someone asks me to go someplace new or to get together now, I say yes. And I'm always looking for new ways to connect. What I still have to master is reconnecting. Once you have friends you need to nourish that relationship too. Even if it's just over the phone.

7. Practice patience. Oh the energy I've wasted on this very subject is mind boggling. I can still remember driving into the high school parking lot anxiously waiting for my girls to jump in the car so I could beat the bus line and "get back to work". And if I didn't make it, the hand thumping on the steering wheel would start and my heart began to race. Seriously? I don't like to wait and I don't let people wait for me....however, I need to just chill. If I have to wait in line, wait my turn, or just plain wait, I distract myself. If there's a possibility I'll be there a while, I have a book with me, if not my iPhone. If it's just a short wait, I start to hum a happy tunesometimes aloud. It works.

8. Say "I love you". As many times as you can. I can remember a turning point in my childhood when my dad's mother died. The relationship wasn't great, but they loved each other very much. As soon as she died, my dad started to tell us he loved us every day he left the house or got off the phone. (The other phrase I heard and repeat is "drive safely".). There isn't a day that goes by that these words don't leave my mouth a least a half dozen times. And my parents will not get off the phone without repeating the same sentiment I heard throughout my childhood.

9.  Give it away. I'm a firm believer in what goes around, come around. If someonefriend or strangerasks for help or advice, give it away if you can. I tell my students all the time that no matter what they do in their careers, they can't be me and vice versa. I'm willing to share all I know so they can succeed, even if they come to me long after class is over. I am genuinely grateful when I find answers to something I need to figure out on the internet and someone has actually taken the time to share shortcuts. Just the other day, my friend sent me a link to some html copy that I would need to fix a bug on my blog because she was having trouble and knew that I would have the same trouble. I love that. (And thank you, Wendy.)

10. Be honestjust be yourself. Why is this so hard to do? Most of my life people would judge me on my behavior. In high school, I heard the words "stuck up" and "too good" from the people who didn't know me. I was/am an introvert. I was painfully shy when I was in elementary school and I kept to myself most of the time. As I finally grew into myself, I was comfortable with who I was/am. I listen before I speak. I observe and notice. I'm thoughtful and introspective. But that doesn't mean I'm not a lot of other things too. Funny thing is when you do get me to open up; you can't get me to shut up. Give people a chance to show you who they are and let people get to know youthe real you. Don't be someone you're not.

And here are a few other things that inspired me this week...

On a much lighter note, check out Joanna's NYC apartment makeover. I especially liked her bedroom.

Be inspired and create this festive centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table.

Want to try a new stuffing recipe? How about Waffle, Maple & Sausage Stuffing?

A funny way to give thanks.

I crack up every time I listen to this song.

Enjoy your weekend!