OMGoodness, tell me it’s true—we are about to kiss 2021 goodbye. Add 2020 to this year, and we have nearly two years of COVID and all that goes with that, harshly divided political views, an angry Mother Nature, and personal losses. It makes me think of Toby Keith when he sings about thanking God for someone leaving—my someone being 2021. Hopefully, we have sharpened our tenacity, patience, forgiveness, and hopefulness from experiencing steady adversity. I, for one, think we are ALL incredible thrivers!
I’m going into 2022 with my fingers crossed. I remember this time last year thinking a new year, yay! Well, it didn’t turn out that way for me anyway, but I have a farmer’s optimism and believe, “Next year!”
Ending thoughts for 2021 come from a poem written by an unknown author: The Person Next to You. I heard it at a luncheon and thought it offered great advice. You can find the complete poem online.
After the first line, The Person Next to You is a miracle and a mystery, the commentator paused and said, “Look to the person next to you and tell them they are a miracle and a mystery.”
It felt good to turn to a friend and then a stranger and say those words. Hearing it in return was also sweet—I, too, am a miracle and a mystery, and so are YOU!
The poem’s message, paraphrased, continued with: The Person Next to You is irreplaceable, sees life with joy and dread, smiles and frowns, laughter and tears, and is a unique human being with his own story. The Person Next to You has problems and fears, can live in this world with you, not just alongside you, can survive the most unbelievable difficulties and persecutions, and is more than any description or explanation.
How often do we not notice the person next to us? If we do, we mainly pay attention to their physical appearance. Also, how critical we are of ourselves. Imagine the difference in your day if you looked at the person next to you and thought, You are a miracle and a mystery, just like me. You are often undecided and disorganized, and painfully close to chaos, just like me. You are a world of experience and possibilities, just like me.
Mental health, the kind we want anyway, requires a broad perspective. If we see life’s possibilities through the eye of a needle, we tend to obsess, criticize, and feel disconnected and alone. Seeing life on a big screen is more colorful, broad, and engaging.
Join me in welcoming 2022 with a New Year’s resolution to have conscious awareness and celebration of You and The Person Next to You.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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