Over My Shoulder: New Year, New Thoughts

by Ann Robson

Here we go again. Another new year is upon us and it seems we were just getting used to the old one. It’s time to make those resolutions which we don’t often keep. Things like exercise more, eat better, and improve your game come to mind.

Why not try something different this year?

Instead of resolving to do something for ourselves, let’s plan to do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be some great plan to change the world, but perhaps do one thing that will change someone else’s world.

I suggest we do a random act of kindness at least once a month or even once a week.  These ‘random acts’ are meant to be that: random as in unplanned, spur of the moment, unexpected acts that may surprise or please another. They don’t have to be major events but rather small, simple things.

In January when we are usually feeling let down after the holidays and somewhat constricted by winter weather, why not be a bright spot for a friend and send a “Thinking of you” card with a short handwritten note? In this age of electronics, getting real mail is a treat.

February is filled with Valentine’s thoughts and gifts. Each of us knows at least one person who may be alone and won’t be getting candy or flowers. Let that person know they are not forgotten and make time to do something special with them, like lunch out, or morning coffee and a sweet treat, or afternoon tea and cookies — you get the idea.

March is the perfect month to drop off a small pot of shamrocks. Put them at the front door and sign a card ‘with love from a leprechaun.’ This is a perfect example of ‘random,’ as you are not seeking  recognition and the person you’ve chosen is left to wonder who made her/his day.

In April we can share the joy of spring with a small plant, or a happy card, or an Easter egg.

May offers the special day for mothers. The commercialization of such a beautiful day is not what its founder intended. For those who are mothers but their families are scattered across the country, include them in something special you may be doing. Just try to do anything to make them feel special.  For mothers who have lost children, please offer them some comfort that day.

June is for ‘dads and grads’. The grads will be fine. We sometimes overlook the importance of dads, so find something to do or say to your own dad or someone else’s dad, or a single dad.  We tend to forget men when we’re doing kind things, and there are many of them who need an extra kindness now and then.

This brings us to the halfway point in the year. You get the idea — this year try to make someone else happy for even a few minutes, and you will have succeeded.  Once you get used to random acts, you’ll find yourself doing them more frequently.

Try it; you’ll like it.

Ann Robson is the author of “Over My Shoulder: Tales of Life and Death and Everything In Between.” She may be reached at overmyshoulder@charter.net