While I spend a great deal of time and attention focused on the happenings of Tinsel Town, this is the time of year where I tend to realize with more than a tinge of embarrassment that it is all too easy to forget that the world is not made up of me and my three best friends, nor do the sun, moon and stars revolve around me.
This is not a piece focused on self-flagellation, nor is it meant to engender any pity, as I am the first to admit that I am a random guy who just so happens to have been blessed with a remarkable life.
The holiday season makes me acutely aware of just how many people are involved in making my life a life and how I often render them invisible. I do so not out of spite, but perhaps if you are like me, it simply feels as if every week starts off with the best intentions and a goal to take the time to smell the roses (as well as thank the people who keep them so nicely pruned), and by week's end I am all caught up it what feels like what matters. But does it?
Take, for instance, the lovely lady who has delivered my mail for the past five years. Granted, I am not home a great deal, but in five years I have had opportunity to say more than "hello." I know nothing about her other than she does a remarkable job of always delivering my mail and doing it with a smile. As a result, I owe her far more than an obtuse wave and half smile, and for that I offer my apologies.
To the man at the dry cleaners who calls me every 15 days when I have already wondered why my closet is empty and have restocked the essentials, believing I must have lost them during my last trip. You matter, and I appreciate your kindness.
So many people who make a difference in my life -- like the check-out clerk at the supermarket who knows what I need far better than I and makes mention if one of my staples is missing or running low. Or the attendant at the gas station who reminds me to take my cell phone off the top of the car before I pull away, as is my habit.
An army of perfect strangers who are still deeply involved in my life, and for reasons that remain a mystery deeply invested in me. Not the me that they hear about or see doing this, that and the other thing, but me: the guy who needs his mail, forgets his laundry, despises food shopping and leaves his phone just about everywhere.
At a time when we hear so much about what people are not doing and what people need to do to act responsibly, I offer my simple truth. Uncomplicated gestures move mountains and deserve to be acknowledged. Kindness is not a birthright and as such should be acknowledged. I am not a bad person for having connected the dots a bit late in the game, but I do have some work to do and make up for lost time.
I am officially ready to take on the challenge and let the army of people who make my life possible aware of the way in which they shape my days for the better. Will you join me?
For more by Joshua Estrin, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.
Follow Joshua Estrin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JoshEstrin