A lot of people didn’t like 2016 and are glad it’s over. I get it. There were more unspeakable atrocities, unnecessary tragedies and far too much anger in the world in general. What to do about it? Make 2017 matter and make it a better year. Arthur Brooks wrote an op-ed about philanthropy in the New York Times yesterday that struck a nerve with me. He suggests that in thinking about how to make the world a better place, to “think small” citing an old fundraising adage “one is greater than one million”. Brooks says “it is a reminder that when it comes to people in need, one million is a statistic, while one is a human story….the first step is to see individual faces in our own beliefs…the second step is to move our ideals from politics and opinions to action.”
One realization I had in 2016 is that I have been taking things for granted. I am lucky and blessed in many, many ways. But perhaps I have been too complacent in thinking that certain rights I have come to expect as “the norm” aren’t and could be taken away. And that so many people don’t have a voice or aren’t heard. So while 2016 left me with a certain unease about the future, it also instilled in me a drive to do better. And like Brooks suggests, do good by starting small.
With that foremost in my mind, here are my New Year’s resolutions (some more serious than others):
- Be proactive. If it is something I believe strongly in, I plan to speak up and help out. This month, I am taking my daughters and niece who is visiting from Australia to the Women’s March on Washington. When 50% of the population that is female is on equal footing with the other 50% of the population that is male, I’ll let it go. Until then, I’m using my voice.
- Be generous of my time and in spirit. Making time for my family and truly cultivating friendships is a top priority. I also want to find time to help others. Sending a thoughtful note or email or working with others is so much more rewarding than spending hours browsing Pinterest for living room inspiration. And it may seem counter intuitive because I have a site and want people to read it, but I also believe in unplugging and getting offline. Often. (It’s the reason I didn’t post last week while I was on vacation. I had a nice break and I hope you did too.)
- Have fun. The political drama of the election has been so tiring and I am over it. No more complaining. I am going to channel that energy into my #1 resolution, to be proactive, and then spend the rest of the time doing things that make me and those around me happy. Life is too short.
- Meet and share more exciting women on TFI. I have some great interviews coming up and so thoroughly enjoy meeting and learning about other entrepreneurial women, I can’t wait to see who I can bring to the site this year.
- Try a new recipe twice a month. In a perfect world, I’d try a new one each week, but I’m being realistic. With one daughter who is now vegan, I need to get more creative with vegetables. I’ve got the cookbooks, now I need to put them to use.
- Get creative. I take guitar lessons weekly and don’t practice near enough, but I want to try something else if I can find the time. Perhaps pottery, which almost seems like a cliche these days, but I love making things with my hands (I started my line of jewelry after taking classes for a year) and drawing is out of the question because I have zero talent in that area.
- Make an effort. Whether it’s getting dressed in the morning (I easily fall into winter outfit ruts) or setting the table for family dinner, I’m going to make an effort to look my best and find and add beauty to the everyday aspects of my life. Sure beauty and adornment aren’t nearly as important as helping people in need, but even people in remote regions of the world who’ve never seen an iPhone or heard of Valentino deeply value and respect the idea of beauty and presentation. It’s human nature. It’s also a premise of TFI, to try to live life with flair.
If you have any resolutions you’d like to share please do, I’d love to hear them.
Here’s to 2017! May it exceed everyone’s best expectations.