At the end of every calendar year WordPress emails bloggers within the WordPress family of their site statistics, and offers advice on how to improve readership, ratings, topics, and so forth to make the reading experience more enjoyable. Although informative, the constructive criticism of this analytical system, that solely bases the quality of a blog on algorithms, is lacking statistics on a very important factor: the quality of life.
During the 2012 year, while taking my sabbatical from writing, I spent much of my time exploring who I am and who I want to become. What labels had I given myself? What did I allow others to label me as? Were these descriptions true, or false? What did these labels accomplish, and should there even be labels at all?
“I am grateful that it is never too late to change, to make things right, to leave old activities and habits behind.”- James E. Faust, “Unwanted Messages”, pg 10
After pondering on these questions in various forms over the course of a few months, I decided to put aside “who I was” and focus more on “who I want to become”. I chose to study a few people who I admire greatly, and who I know in real life, for the simple goal of learning something new. Below is the list of things I discovered throughout the year 2012 that helped me discover how to have a higher quality of life:
- Your spouse’s redundancy at work is not the worst thing to ever happen. You can, and will, survive.
- Buying your second house is as fun as buying the first house.
- A parent’s marriage ending in divorce hurts as much for a 30-year-old as it does for the 10-year-old.
- Indian cuisine is so enjoyable to make and eat, and is super cheap too!
- Travel. There are so many awesome places to visit if we would just leave the house.
- Nate Berkus- I miss your home decorating show. Please come back.
- Set maximum time limits for the amount of time spent in front of a screen and minimum times limits spent with real people.
- No phones at the dinner table.
- Canada has amazing beaches. Who knew?!
- Buying your third house is as much fun as buying your second and your first.
- Allowing yourself to have faith in a higher being and relinquish control to Him will offer more peace and comfort and love into your life.
- Surround yourself with good people. If good people aren’t found right away, it is ok to be alone.
- Never stop learning. The public library is full of educators willing to share their research… all for the price of a free library patron card.
- Get involved in your local political process. Your neighbors need a leader… why not you?
- Plant a vegetable garden with your children and teach them the value of tending, nurturing, and growing their own food. Inexpensive, healthy, and priceless.
- Same goes for adopting a rabbit (or any pet, really) from the animal shelter. Priceless.
- Run through the sprinklers with your children on a hot summer day.
- Don’t wait until your father is unconscious in the Neurological ICU to visit him.
- Get up early to watch the sun rise.
- Forgive your elders for seemingly insensitive comments they make about you, your children, your choice of lifestyle. They were raised during a different time and have a different value system.
- Go for walks with your family. This is a great time to have family talks.
- Be nice to your husband when you won three card games in a row against him. He might not want to play together anymore otherwise.
- Have Mommy-Daughter and Mommy-Son dates at their favorite place.
- Pick up a new sport.
- Homemade Ham Fried Rice. Yum!
- When you need help, and your friends want to help, let them.
- Homemade fabric softener.
- Take a break from writing.
Throughout 2013 I will take the time to break down each of the above lessons I learned. I hope to read your feedback as you share your experiences, and together, we each can have a better quality of life.
Thanks for reading.