Gina’s Review: We all welcome back your blog for 2022 with great optimism!
If you’re like me, the first of the new year came by over the weekend without you even noticing. By the second week in January, enough people have posted on FB or have extended lovely new year greetings to make you believe something magical had happened while you were binge-watching Seinfeld. Oh yeah! We’re supposed to be accumulating hopes or setting resolutions or feeling some vague nudging that the calendar change should spark an interest in the coming months. Oh crap, I forgot you can eighty-six last year’s baggage and cast your gaze forward with optimism toward that vast unknown called 2022. At my age it’s nice to be reminded of these important issues.
I’m sitting at my desk now, finally ready to move on to the new year ahead. I remember this moment when it occurred last year. The hope, the excitement of vaccines and the anticipation of a better year in which we could take vacations, spend holidays together and host lavish indoor parties with our vaccinated buddies without putting anyone’s life at risk. I remember those dreams with clarity. I want to feel the same way now. But this current start of a new year brings many more worries, more hand-wringing and pessimism than the level of angst I experienced a year ago. The doom and gloom report is not something people want to read. I don’t even want to write in that mode, so I’ll kick myself a good one and blend only a little realism with some stingy optimism until I feel as if 2022 presents itself like any other new year—full of potential good happenings with the possibility of only a smidgen of crappiness.
So where does one start when casting around for stuff to get excited about? Margaret Anderson, a professional communications trainer, gave me some advice via her blog post New Years Wishes for You. Her approach is to focus on the positive and practice cultivating optimism. Oh, easier said than done, you might tell Margaret. But luckily, Margaret knows her stuff and anticipates your stubbornness and recalcitrant attitude. First, she suggests, writing down 10 things, people or activities you were thankful for in 2021. Come on, we can find them. Forget the mind-blowing awfulness and get into the good stuff. My dog didn’t bite anyone is right at the top of my list. The price of my favorite vegan butter went down to a point where we loaded up on several packages, now neatly stacked in my freezer. I know I can come up with some more of those sweet spots when life did not suck during the past year. You can too! Friends, tv shows, living in a real house, your foot stopped hurting, the sun came up, etc.
The harder part comes next. Margaret believes in us! She says to cultivate optimism, we must now write down 10 things we are looking forward to in 2022. Based on last year’s anticipations, we unfortunately now know that a lot of things we want to happen, might not. Don’t dwell on that! There is just as good a chance that your dreams will come true, or at least 67.8% of them and that’s pretty darn good. I think this list will be an easier one to compile as there’s lots of stuff I am dragging over from 2021. Being realistic (visit Aunt Mary) and not overly enthusiastic (I will win the Mega Millions lottery) will most likely increase the potential of an occurrence or acquisition. But the true aim is to cultivate an attitude of optimism, so don’t hold back too much on the outrageousness if it puts a smile on your lips or bolsters your rosy outlook.
Over the next ten days, as you rise each morning, look at the first item on your 2021 list, and while you are still happily semi-conscious, bask in all the wonderful feels you got from that gratitude. Then cross it off so you can contemplate the next one tomorrow. In the evening before you checkout for dreamland, for a few minutes, visualize how the first item on your 2022 list of things might come about. One per day. Personally, I am going to flip these transactions to morning visualizations of things to come otherwise I’ll be up all night writing to-do lists. That way I’ll have the warmth of past happiness to fall asleep with. You can decide which is best for you.
Margaret says that we can write more lists of gratitude along with coming attractions and repeat the procedure ten days at a time. This allows us to focus not only on what we want (which has the potential to change) but also gives us a boost, concentrating on the positive, focusing in on our potential goals and increasing our sense of optimism. If you are like me at the beginning of this year, you might need a hand up in that regard. Please check out Margaret’s website/blog (persuasioncoach.com) because she gives out very helpful advice all through the year.
I want to feel optimistic, so now I have a homework assignment to aid in the process of ditching the doom and gathering the sparkles. To get my memory kicked off, I consult my World Wildlife Fund calendar from last year. In March they featured a baby sloth with a picture that was so cute, I donated money to save the tropical rainforests in which they live. I also bought my brother’s used car. Flipping through the months I see when I got my first vaccination, signed up successfully for Medicare, discovered Plant Loving Humans (takeout), finally got a haircut and spent numerous days visiting with friends. My son and his girlfriend came to visit us! My colonoscopy was not great but definitely not too bad. I learned how to play bocce and played international chef in my kitchen more than usual. My gratitude cup runneth over.
The coming year is wide open. What do I want to do? What do you want to do? What can we do together? That is more precious to me than the specific things I might accomplish alone. Once I get my list together, I will look for ways of getting friends and family involved. Reading, writing, tai chi, cooking, hiking and all those satisfying activities I cherish doing are made better with you beside me. Can’t wait to get started. Even though I hate to travel, I know it will be at the top of my 2022 list because I need to reconnect with far-flung family and friends. Local pals will be hugged with extra appreciation for keeping me going these past two years. Hold On! Am I feeling actual optimism? Is it working already? Even that smidgen of crappiness that accompanies each passing year should not rain too harshly on my optimistic parade because I know you will be there to hold me up as I will be right here for you.
As I write out my lists per Margaret’s instructions, I won’t have to look too far to find what I want to focus my energy on in the coming year. I’ll give each item a dose of my fledgling optimism and build a new year worth looking forward to. Let’s look 2022 in the eye, stronger and more hopeful than ever. Maybe that smidgen of crappiness will transform into a smidgen of happiness. Or even a boatload of delight!
Cheers to the year ahead,
Guest Editor Gina’s favorite aspect after New Year’s Eve is binging some TV shows and then writing in a new planner. Online planners just aren’t the same. She is always instrumental in helping me write a good wrap-up and maintaining enthusiasm.