Friday, January 2, 2015

New year, new resolve

It’s been a somber start to the 2015. Many year-end celebrations were cancelled in light of recent tragedies including the Air Asia crash, nationwide flooding and stampeding in Shanghai. Lives were lost and thousands lost their homes and possessions.

Many have rallied to come up with aid for flood victims in the country, with organizations taking the lead in collecting donations in the form of cash, blankets, food items and more. What I’ve discovered is, perhaps not surprisingly, that those with seemingly little are willing to give more. Those who are already feeling the pinch of rising prices have generously opened their wallets to give more than what they can afford, to help those who have lost everything.

My friend, A, took the initiative to make up toiletry kits for both men and women, packing them in cartons and trucking them to Kelantan. In my naivete, I thought that companies who manufactured some of these toiletry items would be more than willing to help out. So I called some contacts to make my request, but to my dismay, it was turned down.

But A said not to worry. Individuals came forward and sponsored the kits as well as transportation. Hopefully, these kits went towards helping some individuals deal with the disconsolation and discomfort they are experiencing.

It’s been a time of reflection for me, to give thanks for the many blessings in my life and to plan ahead for a year that I want to be more meaningful. I stopped making resolutions years ago, because I never keep them anyway. But I have made a promise to myself, not just for the new year but for keeps, to be nicer, kinder and gentler.

It’s easy to be nice to people who are already nice to you, like the shop assistant who greets you cheerfully. But it takes a conscious effort on my part to be pleasant to those whom we ordinarily don’t spare a thought for. I’m known for my grumpy demeanor, so I have started to have a ready smile and greeting for everyone who crosses my path. The cleaners and guards in my condo. Carpark attendants, bank tellers, shop assistants, stall vendors.

I’ll try to refrain from honking at road bullies, drivers who are obviously texting instead of paying attention or worse, flicking their cigarettes out of their car. I’ll try to be patient with call center personnel who irritate me with calls at all hours of the day or can’t solve my problem. Many of the people I come into contact with don’t look or sound happy. I have to remind myself that everyone has their problems, and I don’t need to add to them.

I have to make a conscious effort to be kinder to the environment as well. Besides recycling, I need to cut down on my consumption of energy. I also buy more perishable groceries than I need, so I have to plan my meals more carefully in order to avoid wastage.

I intend to be kinder to myself as well. Instead of shoving junk into my system, I need to eat more healthily and give my body a break. I’ll be attuned to my body’s needs and remind myself that I can’t do the things I used to do when I was 30. So if I feel like laying in bed reading, I’m just going to do it and not feel guilty.

When I make a mistake, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I just need to deal with it and move on, because there isn’t time to wallow in regret and misery, or get eaten up by meanness and indignation.

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