The Easiest, Most Achievable New Year’s Resolution Ever!

2015/01/img_2724.jpgVia health.com

My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds. (Nia Vardalos)

So it’s January, early January to be exact. The time of year for new running shoes, gym memberships, self-help books, and extremes. Society, in general, goes a little bit crazy.

Maybe it’s the post-Christmas blues.

Maybe it’s the aftermath of too much turkey, chocolate, wrapping paper, and Christmas cheer.

Maybe it’s the hope the the year ahead of us will give us the opportunities we need to better ourselves and reach the potential that seems so far away in mid-October.

I think it’s the last one, there. The fact is that, with the arrival of a new calendar year, we beckon the arrival of a new us. A better us. An us who fit into clothing from stores with their size ranges in the titles. An us who is more organized. An us who can finally stand up to the person who keeps stealing our lunches from the office fridge. An us who is confident mentally, emotionally, sexually, grammatically, politically, musically, and so on.

And why shouldn’t we want to better ourselves when we have a clean slate and a future ripe for the choosing?

So with that in mind, I’d like to offer up what I think should be the top of everyone’s resolution list: support other people’s resolutions.

I’ve noticed in the last few years that lots of people make fun of those who have resolutions for the year ahead. Regular gym goers, frustrated by the influx of new members, grumble and look forward to mid-February when the gym will once again be theirs. High-achieving students see slackers bringing pencils and paper to class, for once, and laugh at the fruitlessness of such behavior. Regular customers of music stores frown at the disappearance of guitars and ukuleles from the shelves where they are usually displayed and wonder how many more weekend warriors will arise this year.

2015/01/img_2725.jpg via copyshoppy.com

I’m generalizing and dramatizing, but that’s basically how it works. It’s not so much that we’re protecting the status quo, it’s that experience often shows us that we can’t do it. News reports highlight statistics regarding how many people give up their resolutions before the end of the month. More and more diet programs advertise year round because they know there is a stigma on joining in early January.

With all of this going on, having a new year’s resolution feels embarrassing and pointless. But I think that we should encourage goal-oriented people. If somebody wants to get more involved in charitable organizations, that person shouldn’t have to feel bad or like it’s an uphill battle. The person who wants to lose ten pounds and feel healthier should be able to walk into a gym on January first or second or even tenth and feel excited and proud to begin working towards that goal.

If we support one another instead of shaking our heads at those who are actually trying, we can all reach our goals or at least feel better about what we have accomplished. If we all practice this resolution, then we will all be supported to reach our own goals. It’s win-win!

So smile at the new gym member, wave at the fresh volunteers, high-five the budding musicians, and feel encouraged to make and work toward your own goals.

And stay classy folks,

Kassieboo

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A Story Through Media

This week, my assignment is to tell a story through various types of media. However, I decided that I would tell a story in a different way. I’m an English major so it is kind of my goal in life to confuse people about stories and how they are told. I thought it would be fun to see another type of story-telling.

Often, a story may take the form of a feeling evoked from a piece of music or a picture or even a smell. I wish that I could make your computer smell like freshly-baked bread and vanilla, but I can’t do that. Instead, I am going to give you a picture (a famous one). I will also give you two pieces of music. I’d like you to look at the picture while listening to one song and then do the same while listening to the other song. If you’re like me, there will be a story or even music video playing in your head complete with a plot, setting, and maybe famous actors to play each part.

See if the story evoked by the picture changes with the different types of music. I know that I’m making you do the work, but I think that feeling is story, too.

VJ-Day-Kiss-famous-kisses-2799413-600-897

Song 1

Song 2

What did you think? Did your story change? Was there a story at all or were you just staring at the picture for five or ten minutes?

Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Thanks,

Kassieboo (Kathryn)

Works Cited:

Clearly, these songs and this picture are not mine. I’m just linking to them for the sake of art!

A Random Act of Kindness

A Random Act of Kindness

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. (Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comic strip)

While riding on the WCEx (a commuter train which delivers people from suburbs of Vancouver to the downtown area) this morning, I witnessed a random act of kindness. A middle-aged woman had dropped her phone on the platform while she was waiting for the train and the the screen was completely smashed; she literally cut her finger on it when she tried to unlock it. After she got onto the train and found a seat beside one of her work colleagues, she explained the story to her co-worker. This woman was pretty upset about her phone and was speaking a little louder than what is usual on an early(ish)-morning train.

A young man across the aisle evidently was listening. When the woman had finished explaining to her co-worker what had happened, he leaned toward her and gave her the name of a really good iPhone repair place. The business, he explained, was in the train station where we were heading and would be able to have her phone fixed in couple hours. He also explained that all of the IT guys with whom he worked absolutely raved about how the work at this repair shop was such high-quality and somewhat inexpensive. But the young man was not done with just suggesting the place to go. He had also written down the number, hours, and cost of fixing the woman’s phone and then passed the piece of paper with the information to the woman.

The woman, who I assume was incredibly surprised by the man’s thoughtfulness, didn’t really reply. She took the paper and put it in her purse. The young man still had a smile on his face when he hopped off the train.

 

Some people are just nice. When they see a problem which they are able to fix, they jump into action. That is what the young man did today. It didn’t appear to matter to him that the woman showed little gratitude for his kindness; he was just please to have been able to help. I think that this is pretty beautiful.

Random acts of kindness are always great to witness and they’re even better to take part in. There is something really cool about being able to help someone or brighten his or her day. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment that is different from what you get when you finish an essay or finally get around to cleaning out the back of the fridge. It is (hopefully) completely outside of yourself.

I was lucky enough to participate in a few different groups which had a few days/weeks every year when the goal was to perform random acts of kindness. In one group, we walked around our high school on Valentine’s day and gave flowers to people who were eating lunch alone. With another group, we brought a keyboard, a guitar, and a few drums to a seniors’ home and instead of just singing to them, we learned a number of classics and standards and encouraged them to sing with us.

My own experiences were more organized than the act I was privileged enough to see this morning, but there are so many ways in which we can be kind to one another. My sister-in-law works as a care aid in a facility which looks after seniors who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s and the like. She does a lot of things that she doesn’t have to, just to brighten the days of her patients. When she married my brother this past August, she took a few extra minutes before going to the ceremony to stop at her work and celebrate the wedding with the people she looks after–they were ecstatic to see her dressed in her wedding gown. She also does things day-to-day, like helping some of the women put on a little lipstick or perfume in the morning. I doubt that these things are in her job description, but she does them anyways. They are no longer random (because she has been doing them for a few years), but they are certainly kind.

Not every act has to be huge and public. Sharing a smile with a sad-looking stranger on the street is enough. Holding the door is enough. Whatever you can do is enough.

If you’re interested in learning more about random acts of kindness, there is actually a foundation. You can check it out here.

If you have any stories about your own experiences with random acts of kindness, I encourage you to share them in the comments. Remember: part of what inspires random acts is seeing others perform them first. This is a fad that I hope you will follow!

Stay classy,

Kassieboo