Welcome to the New Year, Monday Motivators! I have missed writing to you for the past 6 weeks but I see that Nancy Fraze has done an outstanding job. In fact, you probably enjoyed a fresh perspective. I hope you soaked in her creative writing style as that is what captivated me about Nancy’s work when I first met her and why she is a part of the Office Dynamics creative team. Nancy, thank you for enlightening us each week.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday and fruitful year end. My Christmas was quite different this year as it was the first Christmas without my husband, Dave. Instead of all the traditional things I loved doing for years like turning our house into a holiday wonderland, shopping for gifts, hosting Christmas Eve and going to parties, I had a unique experience.
In November, I had struggled with whether to decorate the house or not. I was not up to moving everything from mini storage, taking days (yes, I said days) to decorate and then I would spend days to tear down. I decided I just was not up to it and that was ok! Then I thought, “I will at least put up my tree.” But then I didn’t feel like doing that either. After all, I was going to Cleveland for Christmas. It felt strange at first—how could I not put up a Christmas tree? It would be the first time in my life there would not be a tree in the house.
Instead, I decided to buy several red poinsettias to bring holiday cheer into my home and placed a few small Christmas items here and there. Do you know what? It was ok. In fact, I actually felt good about it. It was nice not having all the work and then the after-Christmas work and was even a load off my shoulders.
So what else was different? While I did some shopping, I did not buy much this year for the kids and grandkids. Christmas was always a big deal with Dave and I and he loved being the shopper and I was the official gift wrapper. I decided this was the year to go back to the real meaning of Christmas and get away from all the commercialism of Christmas. I selected a few special gifts for my family. I took great care in picking just the right gift. I also decided this was the year to give to others less fortunate. I took the 4 little ones to Target and let them pick out several items to fill boxes for children in Haiti. At our office, we collected a mound of items for Jasmine to send to her brother in Afghanistan and other soldiers. Also, Jasmine, Michele and I dug through our closets and cupboards to fill an entire vehicle with items to take to Whitney Elementary School in Whitney, Nevada where 85% of the children are homeless.
This truly was a one-of-kind Christmas. Months ago, I was anguishing over what the holiday would feel like without my husband of 34 years. I was dreading the holiday and just wanted to skip December altogether. On January 3, it was the one year anniversary of Dave passing on and that was not going to be an easy time. But I knew I had to pass through the season and experience some sadness and hurt. By changing my focus on what Christmas was really about, knowing my husband was in a far better place and at peace, and understanding that each day is a gift to be lived and treasured, surprisingly I had a most blessed holiday.
As you start the New Year, know that whatever lies ahead this year, you can make it as great as you want it to be. You do have a choice about your attitude. Change can be a growing experience if you are not afraid to embrace what it brings to you. Trust in yourself that you can rise up to whatever comes your way, if you choose. Most importantly, though, I hope you will show up for life! Each day, we either just get up and go through the day, or we show up big time. Bring forth your talents to make your work a better place.
I challenge you to “mix it up” this year. Do something that will make you stretch; that will make you temporarily uncomfortable so you develop new skills. Demonstrate courage by not following the crowd; thus becoming a role model and giving others the courage to do the same.
Make sure learning is on your goal list. You can learn something new every day with all the tools that are available today. We have no excuse. Be vigilant and disciplined about learning at least one new thing each day.
Let’s make 2012 an exciting and fruitful year! The choice is ours!