I don’t know about you, but it hasn’t passed me by that some of the key buzz words of the moment across social media, January edition magazines and the like, include ‘kindness’, ‘gratefulness’, ‘thankfulness’, ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’. And for me, these words are so important in helping remind me of how lucky I am to be, and have, certain things – I’m thinking health, friends, family, a roof over my head, food on the table, bills paid (just about!).
Without getting all deep and philosophical and all that stuff, January really can be a good time for reflection, taking stock of non-materialistic stuff – our wellbeing – and putting some small steps in place to help remind and make us a bit more aware of how we might be able to achieve a bit of that ‘feel-good factor’ – which is mostly felt by doing good things rather than buying good things (mostly!).
To be honest, when I read all the social media posts that have been streaming out over the last week or so, I can’t help but be reminded of my grandparents’ generation. Life for them was tough – in a different way to the stresses and anxieties of our generation of Insta-perfect-somethings, social media onslaughts and missing-out syndromes we all struggle with – but still tough.
From the ways in which my grandparents spoke about their childhoods, married and working lives, the thing that really jumped out at me was the fact that any tough times or obstacles were overshadowed completely by the joys and happiness that they found (throughout their lives in fact) in simple pleasures. They really didn’t let the shit get them down! Their gratitude and thankfulness at seemingly little things was quite incredible, lovely, humbling and inspiring, and used to stop me in my tracks and make me mentally say to myself that I would (try to) be more like them.
Both my grandmothers were the kindest, gentlest but bonkers and fun and strong women. They didn’t seem to feel the need to gossip, put others down or belittle them – maybe they took note of the saying ‘If you’ve got nothing good to say, say nothing at all’? I suspect, however, that it was more to do with their generation – they didn’t have the ‘stuff’ we have today, their lives weren’t massively complicated and life was more fragile yet they had spirit and attitude and got on with stuff. They genuinely were grateful for what they had. Acknowledging this with a ‘thank you’ was second-nature for them.
Bizarrely, we have to remind ourselves to be thankful. But that’s no bad thing of course. I don’t know if you’ve come across these ‘thankful’ or ‘gratitude’ jars? These are great for kids actually. Any old empty, clean jar will do. The idea behind this simple jar is to jot down good things that happen to you and your family throughout the year. Anyone can grab a scrap of paper and add to the jar. This is a great way to instill gratitude in your children and a way to remember to celebrate the little things. Now imagine New Year’s Eve 2017. Gathering your family. Opening the jar. Pouring out all the little slips of paper, full of memories and sharing them just before midnight. Also a great thing to do when you’re feeling a little down.
So, back to those old fashioned values: be kind, don’t gossip or share in negativity, don’t compare yourself to others, be brave and face the occasional fear, plan fun stuff – have an adventure, be thankful and grateful and search for the joy and happiness in the small, simple, pure things in life 🙂
Most importantly, enjoy your ‘now’!