Improving Your Vision for the New Year!
Having 20/20 vision doesn't mean that you see things perfectly, but rather, that your vision at a distance has sharpness and clarity. How sharp and clear do you see yourself at a distance? Can your vision be improved? Mine has and just in time for 2020!
A few years ago, my vision was terribly myopic - I couldn't see myself in the distance at all. I didn't know who I was apart from being a lapsed lawyer, wife, and stay-at-home mom. Worse, I didn't know who I wanted to be. Follow Me To 50 changed all of that and now, with 20/20 vision, I can see myself clearly at any distance: I am a dedicated friend and family member, a shameless service addict, a committed activist and volunteer, a community educator, speaker, and writer. I am happy, full of new passion, and living with purpose!
Do you see yourself clearly? Need a bit of a correction? Give your life a little 'shake up' and try some of these ideas to improve your vision in the new year:
1. Say YES to as much as possible: No, I'm not suggesting that you take on more responsibility or carry more weight - I'm saying embrace MORE opportunities! When you get in the habit of saying 'yes' to invitations, opportunities, and experiences, you never know who you will meet or what you will learn. I started saying 'yes' to so many new things, even things that scared me, and grew so much! Saying 'yes' opens doors!
2. Try something new: Attempt a new exercise or adventure; take a class or explore a new hobby; join an association or social group; make a meal specific to another culture, learn a new language... I tried using a power tool for the first time on a Habitat for Humanity work site and learned I wasn't very good at it! I learned how to collect stream samples with the Izaak Walton League, took a writing class, cooked Afghani food, and more. As I cross-trained my mind and spirit, I got stronger, more confident, and developed heaps of new passion and purpose! What might you discover if you were to try something new?
3. Interact with a person or a group that you think is different than you: Attend a service in a different house of worship; Go to a community event in a far off zip code; Volunteer with new people - veterans, seniors, people with special needs, etc; Talk to strangers you meet at the grocery store, in the elevator, and passersby ... I had the opportunity to learn from an Imam at a neighbor's mosque, attend a variety of church services, worked alongside veterans, people of all colors and creeds, and ventured far beyond my regular stomping grounds into areas far from home. Each time I went somewhere different, I recognized something similar that remind me that we all have far more in common than we think. Furthermore, our differences are often beautiful!
4. See a movie, read a book, or attend a cultural event that you think you won't like: Didn't like opera when you were in your 20's? Try it again in your 40's or 50's. Always read fiction? Try non-fiction; Attend a lecture on a new subject at your local library, ... Once I shook up my life and started to crave new input, I started to like things I didn't like before or things that didn't appeal to me earlier. Tastes change over time and your new-favorite-thing may be right around the corner!
5. Invest in needs outside of your own family, work, hobby, or faith community: We often give all of our time and resources to our own family, causes, and interests - step outside your nest when possible and invest some time in something new, unrelated to you or those you love. By expanding my notion of community, I felt more invested, connected, and compelled to help. First, communities don't exist in a vacuum and what affects one community often effects another. Second, the more you see, the more you know and the more you'll want to do!
6. Be present and engaged in what you are doing and who you are with: Opportunity often surrounds us and we're either too busy or not present to notice or take advantage! When you are somewhere new, trying something different, or interacting in unique ways, open all of your senses and take it all in! When possible, leave your own 'stuff' at home and BE where you are! I typically volunteer by myself so I'm not compelled to play 'catch up' with the people I'm serving with - How are the kids? What are you making for dinner? Instead, I'm emotionally present and engaged to ask questions, learn interesting things, and forge new friendships. I've truly met some great new friends this way!
To see yourself clearly requires on-going work and you might not always like what you see! The best part, however, is that your vision can improve at any time! Maybe striving for 20/20 should be what 2020 is all about! How clearly do you see yourself and who do you see?
Happy New Year!