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52 Things To Do This Year

I spent my New Year’s Day meditating, organizing, and thinking. I’m not going to make resolutions, because I feel that if I should do something, it needs to be done right now. Instead, I created a list of 52 things to do this year that most people don’t normally do.

1. Buy a meal for a random stranger

2. Volunteer at a nonprofit

3. Compliment a random stranger that looks like s/he’s having a bad day

4. Attend a class or meeting you normally would not

5. Visit a place in your city you’ve never been

6. Travel to a place you’ve always wanted to go

7. Write a thank you note to a business, organization, or person for their service

8. Tell a store manager how helpful one of their employees are

9. Give something up that you’ve had since childhood

10. Donate school supplies to a needy child

11. Spend a day talking to elderly folks

12. Forgive someone that you’ve been holding a grudge

13. Send a card to a friend telling them how much you care

14. Make a list of things you love about someone and give it to them in a frame

15. Leave a gift for your mail carrier

16. Buy a textbook for a college student

17. Take a long walk in a neighborhood you’ve never been to

18. Commit to something you’re not already committed to

19. Grow a plant from seed

20. Have a conversation with yourself in the mirror

21. Help an elderly person with something

22. Eliminate something in your life that brings you down

23. Learn how to cook a new dish

24. Buy something for yourself you wouldn’t normally buy

25. Wave to random people while walking, riding your bike, or driving

26. Do one thing you’ve always dreamed of doing

27. No complaining for one day

28. Make a list of all things for which you are thankful

29. Let a teacher know what a great job s/he is doing

30. Learn about someone else’s religion

31. Have faith that everything will work out for that one big issue

32. Share something about yourself that you never have before

33. Buy a piece of art from a local artist

34. Let yourself cry

35. Help a neighbor

36. Try a new adventure

37. Teach someone how to do something

38. Listen to a new musician

39. Say yes to something you’d normally say no to

40. Join a group or club

41. Attend a fundraiser event

42. Bless your enemies

43. Make a new friend

44. Rescue a butterfly, lizard, or insect

45. Don’t look at yourself in the mirror for one day

46. Learn something new not listed above

47. Participate in a function you normally wouldn’t

48. Manifest something with positive thoughts

49. Let the other driver go first

50. Take a scenic drive

51. Hire a local photographer

52. Be happy with what you have

Shannon's Creative Work: Aloha Indigo &emdash;

2013 – The End of the World As I Know It

Although 13 is my favorite number, the year 2013 has been rough, so I will gladly say goodbye to it.

This year I gave up my photography business. It was like giving up a child, but it had to be done. (I had moved to Hawaii in 2012, and I’d given up my Florida clients to other photographer friends.) When I returned to Florida in 2013, I opted for a regular paycheck and steady income. It was a new beginning, but it’s always tough saying goodbye to things you’ve worked so hard to have.

For many people which I love and care deeply, their own lives changed. Many of us dealt with unexpected deaths this year. Earlier this year I learned of my friend’s suicide. It was shocking, devastating, and saddening to know that such a beautiful person was hurting so badly that she only saw one way out. Just after Thanksgiving, I learned of another very shocking suicide of a very well-liked influential person in a community I used to live. But it wasn’t just physical death that people had to deal with this year.

Nearing the end of 2013, when things began to dramatically change for me personally, I was forced to reassess many aspects of my own life. One was the type of people that I had allowed to enter or re-enter my life. Being that spirituality is extremely important to me, it didn’t take long to notice that some of these people were not friends at all. Friends that respect boundaries and care about needs without considering their own interests is essential to maintaining true friendships. So with that, it was time to cut the cords with those that can’t serve spiritually.  And then, by mutual agreement, my marriage ended just in time for the holidays. Although it’s heartbreaking and we still both love each other dearly, we knew we’d grown apart and that it would be healthier for us both to move on. This is probably the hardest part of 2013 for me.

But 2013 also had some new beginnings. I worked at a law office as a legal secretary until I was hired as a technology teacher at a private school. I have met some very wonderful people and work with the most amazing, talented kids. And I get to teach what I gave up earlier in the year – photography! In November, I began another successful part-time job selling some really awesome jewelry.

What I learned from 2013 is we choose our lifestyles and our happiness by eliminating the old and starting new, like a fresh rain washing away the dirt (thanks for the analogy, Eric 🙂 ). So what does 2014 have in store? I’m hoping some really cool changes that will put more smiles on my face and make me feel like myself again. But it’s all up to me and how I want to live my life.

Shannon's Creative Work: Travel &emdash; Crossing Lake Pontchartrain

What will 2014 bring?