Okay, December through until mid January is considered to be the peak time of the year to be making lists of all sorts. Lists of presents to be bought, holiday cards to send, savings to put aside for payment of credit card invoices that cover aforementioned presents and so on. One of the most time honoured traditions is to make a list of New Year's Resolutions. That, to me sounds like looking at life negatively, not starting off the year on a good note at all if you are already telling yourself that you have been doing things wrong and need to spiff up, pronto. It would be like the resolution that I have oft made, not to punch out some one's headlights if they tell a certain story about me again. Whilst that may initially sound positive, when one reflects on what I just said, they will sense a certain hostility. Yes, point well taken grasshopper, you got my point. New Year's Resolutions are generally and most often made from negative reflections of one's nature that need to be stopped, modified or shaken away from our fragile psyches.
Oh, now doesn't that sound reflective, pseudo intelligent and perhaps as if I'm trying to upload some psycho babble/mumbo jumbo into my post in the hopes of improving human kind? Yes, it does, and I will be the first one to "out" myself on this. If you read only to this part of my post, that is surely what you must be thinking. But, here is the deal, I do not subscribe to that line of thinking and I do not make resolutions at the start of a new year. I make "conscious intentions" to try to make myself into a more well rounded person and I am not referring to my figure. I make what is now the trendy thing, a bucket list. What is on your list, your bucket list, that is?
Bucket lists are often lists of things one hopes to do or accomplish before they die or float off into their next life form. That is doable, but these lists often include things that one is not likely to ever do, even if money were no problem and everything was actually capable of being accomplished. You are making a list that will ultimately make you feel less than you really are, just like the New Year's Resolutions. I read an article in the past week that said one of the most common items on bucket lists is the wish to learn how to fly, not so much as to pilot a plane, but to hang glide over amazing scenery, enjoying the feeling of floating freely through the air. That may be something a few people really would like to do, but I am not one of them. My feelings are that one's list should be made up of things you really would like to do and that you can reasonably hope to do in your lifetime. Hang gliding just does not make it onto my list, not even in the top 100 things that I would really like to do. Never has and never will.
So, what is on my list? Well, my list is personal to me, my situation in life, how I live (quietly) and what has transpired in the past decade or two or three . . . Everyone will have a different list compiled from their own memory of events, activities and/or dreams. While some of my list may cross over onto your list, how we go about pursuing that "activity " will differ greatly and how seriously we each really want to put a check mark beside that entry on the list will determine our sincerity in achieving that check mark.
Really, what is on my bucket list? Well, I want to actively pursue my dreams of writing and painting, but pursuing them on my terms, by devoting reasonable allotments of time to each activity, hopefully, on a daily basis. That sounds doable and I believe that I can make reasonable strides forward in each of these. I also want to push myself out more into the world and experience a lot of things that I have not taken the time to do over my lifetime. That would include participating in some groups, possibly within the community. But, again, pushing myself out within my comfort zone and not putting myself in fear of what I am actually doing.
That is very scary for me, but I also realize that it might be something that would be terribly good for me. That is a novel idea, something good for me. I had not really thought of it that way, that working my way through my list would actually be healthy for me. Okay, even I am fully tuned in to what I am writing here. Maybe, this really does make sense!
Let us proceed cautiously forward and peer at some of my other entries. Learn to accept what I am not able to do graciously. I may not be able to dance the rumba with anyone now or at any point in the near or far flung future, but that does not mean that I have to bemoan the fact that dancing is something that I am not physically capable of doing, safely at any rate. Okay, I have been known in the past to play the part of the "office fool/secretary" and do a hootchie coo dance while photocopying documents for the managers. And, I would do this in full view of both managers, who sitting in their respective offices, would view the scene unfolding just a stone's throw away from their desks with amused horror. Anyone walking by our collective offices and looking in would be given a treat - a secretary who had jacked the tunes and was having a moment to destress or just have a little fun. The truth is, I did it as much for the managers to destress and have some fun as I did it for my own amusement. Life is too short not to dance, just be sure not to take out a hip while you are doing it. Seriously, I look back on those times as providing some of my finest and most treasured memories. While I am not able to do that dance and get the applause anymore, does not mean that I should not dance for my own amusement or health benefits. A good laugh is better than a pain killer and you can quote me on that!
Now, you are thinking, this woman is absolutely mad, quite possibly, but you really do not know me well enough to make that judgement, so we will move on. Graciously, did I mention that word previously? Accept what you cannot do graciously and move on, get over, past it and around it. Just move on and so I shall.
A few hours ago as I was making notes for this post, I had a thought about an entry that should go on my list. This bumps a lot of others down in a major way because it inspires me to involve as many of you and people who follow me on Twitter (@rutheemac). The formation of duh duh duh - the Angel Squad. I see this "squad" as an ever growing group of people who will post on Twitter using the hash tag #AngelSquad, and say what they have done to help or make a difference within their community. Post, using the hash tag every time you do something to help someone else without having been asked to help. I will monitor the tweets that use #AngelSquad and report back in this blog periodically. Just because this month is the time when we do more random acts of kindness, I expect that the squad will report more heavily and that's okay. But, just to jog your memory, I will tweet every so often and mention this group here in my blog.
I'm writing this section a little after the original text. I took a couple of hours to think about what I had written and while I feel strongly about what I have said, I do not want to make anyone uncomfortable with the hash tag or name #AngelSquad. So, the alternate hash tag to use is #ElfSquad. Someone called me an elf on Twitter on Saturday and that made me smile. That person was @JulieAnneRhodes who writes a blog called Jewels from the Roving Stove, the link is to the right of my post. So, the #ElfSquad is hereby christened by Julie Anne herself and she will be Elf #1 in honour of her contributions already made in bringing together such a diverse group of people, men and women to discuss issues in her blog.
Your "donation" of time should be unsolicited, but, it could be spurred on by what you see as being needed by the community or an individual. At no time do you want to make the recipient feel that they owe you something back. This should be something you do just because you want to do this and show that you really do care about others.
I wish I had have had this thought a few weeks ago and put up this post at that time to give us all time to work on what we choose to do. But, we still have lots of time, the rest of our lives in fact. While December is the peak time for people to help with charitable organizations, it is just one month of the year. The Angel Squad/Elf Squad should be out and about helping throughout the year. You are not limited to help you provide to organizations, holiday donations to a food bank or funding of your son's or daughter's holiday pageant. Shovel the walkway for your neighbour, bake some cookies and spend some time with an elderly person who does not get out and about like they used to do. The more personal you can make your activity, the better you will feel because you will see the difference you make by helping someone. Even if you do not see a direct positive come out of what you did to help, that does not lessen the fact that you went out and did do something. Sometimes, we do not see the end result right away, if ever, but do not doubt that you have made a difference if what you did was done sincerely because you wanted to "be there" for someone else. Activities that do not qualify for posting are those that you do for yourself, like the purchase of fragrances, nights out on the town or indulging in decadent pieces of chocolate. As good as all these may make you feel, I think that I can pretty much promise you that actively participating in the Angel Squad will make you feel even better. You just might find a spark of life deep inside yourself that you did not know was the start of a glowing ember of future activities and add some wonderful inspiration to your bucket list.
What's on your list, your bucket list that is? And even more important, how did you choose to make a difference?
Have a great week! I'll be checking in on Twitter frequently to see how the #AngelSquad or #ElfSquad is progressing in terms of numbers and activities. David Sandum did his part in Norway to gather a group together to help raise funds for the children's library. Artists participated from around the world. What I am proposing is not limited to artists, everyone is able to participate with what they are doing going right back into their own community. Even if you do not post on Twitter, let the rest of us know what you did by writing a comment within the blog about your activity. Let us light up the world with the number of participating people typing in text onto glowing Ipads, computer screens and cell phones. It will be one wicked power surge of activity, and something great might get added to some of your lists.
P.S. Just to get you in the mood, take a look at this video and remember how a group of "artists" musical artists made a difference over 20 years ago, 26 in fact. I remember this as if it were yesterday, it was such a huge undertaking. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5cX_ncZLls watch and bookmark it. You're going to want to see it again and again, I know I have to each year as well as listen to the music on my CD player. Just wonder if anyone was lip synching the chorus? Just a thought!
P.P.S. Also on my bucket list is the line reminding me to finish some started pieces of art. I am working on this, but not at full speed. There have been a few detours for personal reasons, read "I am feeling a tad on the rough side." Not to worry, this time of year brings on a variety of cold virus like bugs that lay me up for a while, but life will return to normal. Soon, I hope, very soon!