My New Year resolution is to make everyone I come in contact with smile. You are forewarned. I WILL crack you.
Sharing smiles with strangers has long been a personal philosophy of mine, at times to the occasional chagrin of David and the embarrassment of my former teenaged kids, but this year I want to conscientiously up my ante. I want to be more aware.
My motives are somewhat selfish, I must admit, as I feel I am going to come out of this experience changed, but I'm fairly certain that it will be for the better. I know that during the course of this year I will, at times be made more joyful, and other times be the butt of a joke or the subject of an eye roll. Still I think the odds will be in my favor.
How many smiles will I encounter? Of this number how many lives can I change for the better – even if it is in the tiniest of ways? Can I keep a person from going home and kicking their dog? From feeling lonely? Would the smile spread to their next customer, their family, a friend in need?
After thinking about this, I realize I can't go about this all willy nilly. I can't, for example, be in a crowded subway and go around jumping from person to person like an idiot or standing on a seat above the throngs to start up an impromptu stand-up routine… I'm going to have to set some ground rules. Our fast-talking, taxi-flagging, black-wearing, eff-bomb dropping urbanite daughters, The Piglet and Decibel, both live in New York City and I'm not about to give up visiting them because of an impossible dream to brighten up every passerby on a crowded mid-town street.
So here are my ground rules:
- In EVERY one-on-one organic situation – the cashier at a grocery store, a fellow hiker, a tour guide, EVERYone I am blessed to share a moment with – I will attempt to brighten their day with a friendly "hi," a happy tale, a goofy laugh.
I will do good deeds. I will go out of my way – WAY out of my way – to help carry luggage and groceries, assist old ladies across streets, aid stranded motorists.
I will compliment. I will be more cognizant of others efforts and instead of keeping my appreciation to myself, I will take a moment to let them know.
I will thank people FOR. Instead of a my usual cursory "Thank you," I will be sure to show my gratitude by thanking them specifically FOR something. (I see a lot of "Thank you for being so patient with me"s in my future!)
I will make eye contact. I'm amazed time and time again at how well this works. It doesn't matter where I am, whether I speak a common language – eye contact and a smile rarely fails.
No keeping numerical tabs. This is not about quantity, but quality. In the subway or crowded street situation, I will be happy with one person per car, per busy block.
No "one-size fits all" shenanigans. I want to keep my quest on a personal level, I want to be able to reflect on one person at a time. The old smiley face-tee-shirt-have-a-nice-day routine won't do.
Finally, I'm going to document some of my new friends' smiles. And share them here with you. Share my wealth, as it were.
Happy New Year to each and every ONE of you. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.
Happy 2012! Here's to hoping the Mayans were wrong!
Veronica, GypsyNester.comYOUR turn: Help me out here! Any suggestions you have to help me make folks smile will be GREATLY appreciated!
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