THE BLOG
01/14/2015 01:02 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2015

Taking Stock

Can you believe it? It's 2015! I remember clearly, a few decades ago, thinking ahead to a brand new century! It seemed like a sci-fi adventure was getting ready to begin. And now, we're 15 years into it! (or is that 14 years and counting....?)

What a great time for us all to take stock, don't you think? As each new year begins, it seems the perfect opportunity for me to size up where I've been and where this next new year will/can possibly take me. And I've learned that putting off important evaluations is a very bad idea. Before my dear friend Ildiko passed away a year ago, we thought we had all the time in the world available to make our many creative plans happen. Ya right. I think of her so often, especially when I'm tempted to "think about that tomorrow"!

I've come up with a few soul-prodding questions for myself, which I'm happy to share with you, my SP (Special People)!

• At this stage of my game, where do I sit on my Overall Happiness Scale -- from 0 to 100. How does my assessment make me feel? Does it clarify if I'm where I really want to be at this point?
• How about my Self Satisfaction level (again -- from 0 to 100)
How good do I feel about the things I've accomplished in my life so far, and what new and ongoing feats do I still plan to work on this year?
• How about my next 100 years.... (not bad for someone who'll be celebrating with my honey later this year as we both hit the ¾ Century mark, huh?) Am I clear about where I'd like to focus my time, energies and efforts, long term?
• I have a new motto: "Joy/Joy!!" Which means my future efforts must create joy - two ways .... Both to others, and back to me! In many of my past goals and endeavors, I was totally focused on the other person getting what they wanted. That's what inspired me to do lots of volunteer work. I've come to realize that I have to see some real results happening, especially when my efforts are significant. If I don't perceive some positive change happening, I take a deep breath and resign from the activity. Now, before I commit to a volunteer venture, I look for the potential of a two-way return... giving my best and receiving the satisfaction of joyful results! It's a reasonable and important expectation, methinks!
• Will I let things happen as they will, or will I do whatever I possibly can to encourage them to happen -- or not?
An example..... we recently moved to a wonderful community for active seniors. There are tons of fun and challenging things to do here every day. Knowing myself, I could see me getting involved in way too many things, taking on all kinds of new responsibilities, and feeing stressed and pressured once again. Well, I decided to be proactive about staying focused on my new stress-free lifestyle.
I'd participate in many activities that intrigued me, but I'd pass on accepting any new roles with ongoing responsibility -- a definite first for me! During the past few months, I've come close to "giving in" several times, but I'm happy to share.... I have not taken on any new activities (so far) that will commit me to responsibilities requiring promised time or effort, even when I don't feel like it! Selfish? Perhaps, but it's time for me to do things a whole new way, and give others who want the challenge of a heavier role, the opportunity to do it. Playing a lighter leadership role and enjoying more pure and simple mutual interaction, leaves me some quality time to try new activities, like my new Glass Fusing class, and my Needlework Club, and my Tea Party group (we really drink tea!) - each of which are indeed leading to Joy-Joy adventures!
• And lucky me - there are so many fascinating, intelligent, creative people to meet in our new community, and we actually have the time to develop some great new friendships. I'm being much more careful about recognizing good "matches", with lots of potential for mutual "Joy-Joy" experiences.
• Last, but by no means least.... How will I know things are working the best way for me? Am I letting my Must Dos get in the way of my Want To Dos? Or am I overindulging in my Want to Dos and neglecting my Must Dos? Not an easy balance to achieve. If you've gotten a handle on this one, perhaps the greatest Happiness Challenge of all, please share your "hows" with me!

In summary, at the end of each week, on Sundays, I look into my Soul Mirror, and take stock. Encouraging myself to trigger moments of sincere reflection seems a great way to wrap up my week. It will be easier for me to make small changes as I go along my exciting journey of Rewirement, (or whatever stage you are in), rather than wait too long, get too far into a new activity/responsibility, and then just give up -- or perhaps give in to one-way Joy.

Well, those are my thoughts. Now it's your turn. I'd love to hear what ways you're using to keep yourself and your life on the best possible track for you? I understand that we're all at different stages of life's journey - with very different obligations and realities. That will create great diversity in our "musts, want tos and shoulds." But giving our inner happiness and quality of life some serious thought might help each of us decide which things we care most about, and which we can alter to create a better life for us and those we love the most.

If any of this resounds in your head or your heart, and you've made progress on any of them, I'd love to hear from you. Email me directly with your take on things. I'd love it!

Happy mind meanderings!