by Sharon Hassler, Reset Your Day
Do you get Oprah's OWN Network? Have you been watching? I thoroughly enjoyed her Lifeclass and Super Soul Sunday series. One of my favorite shows featured Tom Shadyac, a renowned Hollywood director responsible for some of Jim Carey's blockbuster movies and his "I AM" documentary. Tom rethought his life after moving into his fourth house and realizing he wasn't any happier with the latest and greatest mansion. He sold his big house and his cars, gave away many of his possessions and moved into a small manufactured home near the beach. He now uses his bicycle to get around whenever he can. Hearing what he said helped me go through my house and stop saving stuff "just in case I need it some day" because, as Tom said, "Someone needs it NOW." I've made several trips to the Salvation Army since seeing that Oprah show, even two trips this month, and I'm having some furniture picked up next week. What are you hanging onto because you MIGHT use it in the future. Could someone else use it today? Find the "I AM" DVD here.
I suggest you start your New Year with a delicious dose of Super Soul Sunday.
Reset Your Life by Thoughts of DeathHarry, a dear friend of mine who's 66, stopped in to visit for a couple of days before he heads to Asia for a three-month adventure. He's roaming the world and living with friends along the way. During the last two years, he's biked across the U.S., kayaked the Mississippi River and spent months in South America. Harry's traveling light. He says he has the 2-2-2 plan: 2 pairs of socks, shoes, pants, shorts... no more than fits in a duffel bag. He has few possessions and few responsibilities, and he's living a life most of us can only dream of. He's one of those rare individuals who should have been written up in "Reader's Digest" as a most memorable character. Years ago when my daughter was in kindergarten, she thought he was too loud and used to complain that "Harry laughs up the place" which was an apt description of his presence. These days, he's very conscious of how he spends every day and not wasting time. He's also planned his funeral: It will be a party and the details are outrageous with cash prizes involved! How he lives really makes me think again about what's important and how I'm spending my time. Way too much work and not enough exploring and experiencing. Having had my own health scare recently, I have been thinking differently about "last chances." None of us has a guarantee of living even one more second. I could crumple over on my keyboard right now and not finish this post or you may not live long enough to read it! Morbid? Sure. But having thoughts like that can be beneficial as long as they prod you to say "yes" when asked to do something fun or different.
It's hard to live as though each day could be the last because we all have mundane but necessary things to do in order to pay the bills. However, I am thinking more about not missing opportunities and not having regrets. When invited to my grown son's birthday party last week—which would mean a bit of travel for me, added expense and two days away from home and work—my first response was, "I can skip it. I'll see him in a few days at Christmas anyway. There's always next time..." Frankly, last year that would have been my decision, not to make that extra trip but this year my thoughts were, "What if I'm not here for his next birthday? What if he's not here for another birthday? What's more valuable, staying home and working or celebrating my son's birthday with his wife, daughter and 50 friends?" The choice this year was an easy one. And yes, it was worth the trip and I'm so glad I went.
Until a few months back, I thought I was extremely healthy and quite possibly would live to be 100 when Willard Scott's replacement would wish me "Happy Birthday" on national TV. That optimistic vision plus a serious case of procrastination had me convinced I had plenty of time to experience life down the road, but honestly, it's a crap-shoot at best. Now I recognize and accept my own mortality. Am I sad? Nope. I've never been happier. I'm saying "yes" to more fun and "no" to more work. I may still live to be 100 but rather than simply wanting to live a long life, I want whatever life I have left to be filled with memorable days and lots of gratitude and laughter.
So January 1, I won't be writing that same old list of resolutions, I'll be thinking, "Hmmm... What if this is my last year?" Now that's incentive to accomplish goals and do the year right!