A New Calendar

I like calendars. Most people don’t use them anymore as they keep track of dates and appointments on their phones.

I’m old-fashioned and I like a calendar hanging on the wall in my kitchen. I like the pictures on the calendar, whether it’s flowers, birds, sunsets or kittens. Every month has a new picture and every month I start out with rows of blank squares that eventually get filled in with things I should do or places I need to go.

At the beginning of the new year, all the pages are blank and it is up to me how I fill those blank squares. At the beginning of every month, I turn the page and have a new picture to look at and a fresh start with each brand new month.

A New Year is filled with unlimited possibilities. Maybe it will be filled with big changes—a new house, a new job, a new love, a new baby, and new friends.

Sometimes the changes are so small we don’t notice them but they are still happening all around us. Every day we change a little, too and when this year ends, we won’t be the same person we are today.

My oldest son is always happy. His life isn’t perfect. He works hard, things go wrong, but he said years ago he realized we don’t always have much control over what happens in our lives but we have 100 percent control about how we deal with it. He said he made the choice to be happy. Yes, things do go wrong and he gets his feelings hurt. People can be unkind. Sometimes he doesn’t feel well but he doesn’t waste his time wallowing in regret or self pity.

I have another son who is never happy. He is always angry—the world is against him, life isn’t fair, he’s unlucky, he doesn’t get the credit or recognition he believes he deserves. He hates his job. He’s moved a dozen times, changed jobs a dozen times, and he always thinks the “next” thing will make him happy but nothing is “enough”. Sadly, his gloom and doom state of mind is driving away people who really care about him.

Both sons grew up in the same home, had the same childhood, the same opportunities and both were very much loved. One is happy, the other is unhappy. They each made a choice.

Sometimes I think happiness depends not so much on what we remember but on what we can forget. Forget the arguments, the hurt feelings, the unkind words, the disappointments. Don’t dwell on what you have lost. Instead, think about what you have gained. Don’t think about people who have left your life. Who is in your life right now and do they care about you?

Am I always happy? No. There are days I’m lonely, discouraged and sad to the bone but I know whatever I’m going through is temporary. It will pass and tomorrow is a new square on the calendar. Next month I’ll turn the page and have a brand new month waiting for me. Life gives us hundreds of opportunities to start over, start fresh, to change our lives, to be better, stronger, happier.

Make someone happy today. Give them a smile, a kind word, thank them for being who they are. What we say, what we do, and how we act will make someone else have a good day or a bad day.

Ten years ago I was on a street corner waiting for the light to change. A young woman driving a car stopped at the light and she turned her head and smiled at me. She had the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t know if she was pretty, I don’t know what her hair looked like or what she wore or what kind of car she was driving. All I remember was that beautiful, warm, friendly smile.

Whenever I remember her pretty smile, I feel good inside. Maybe today someone needs a smile. Maybe they need your smile, and maybe they’ll remember it ten years from now and it will make them feel good.

Wishing you a calendar filled with happy days.

Crying Wind is the author of Crying Wind and My Searching Heart, When the Stars Danced, and Thunder in Our Hearts, Lightning in Our Veins. All her books are available from Indian Life.

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