Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The little things do matter in life

I’ve started off this year by looking back upon the lessons I’ve learned in 2011.  After reviewing many events and experiences, I came up with a total of seven things that seem to stick with me, lessons that I want to carry into the new year.  So here we go with the next one!

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#6:  Give back, even when you are in need


On the heels of being laid off, I immediately gained perspective on my situation by just looking around at others.  The same day that I was let go in my job, a high school friend’s son was in a terrible accident that left him in the hospital in critical condition.  I simply could not muster much self-pity for my situation when I compared it to hers.  And when I heard that he had passed away from complications, it made me both terribly sad and also terribly grateful that I still had so much.

Around that same time, another friend…oddly enough from high school as well…was struggling with her father’s diagnosis of lung cancer.  He too, succumb to the illness and left her, her sister, and her Mother struggling to deal with their grief and loss.  I cried over their losses, and took a lesson from the experience:  even if you are in need, there is someone who is dealing with greater issues.

Fall brought stories of tragedy from the fires in Central Texas and Bastrop, and learning that a former co-worker had lost everything in the process.  It seemed like the universe was connecting me to personal stories of tragedy as a way to give me perspective on my current condition, which by all accounts, was not that bad.  I had financial resources to weather this blip in my career, I had enormous support and love from family and friends and I had the gift of time.  Time to not only rest and recover, but also to reconnect and rejuvenate.
So, when I was approached with the idea of a community service project for the Aria Dance Foundation, I loved the idea.  Instead of worrying about time in my schedule to coordinate this project I could really spend my time and energy ensuring it would be a success.

In the end, we supplied a Central Texas shelter, called Hill Country Cares, with 65 personal care tote bags for women and kids.  Each bag was decorated and filled with all the basic hygiene supplies they may need while gaining some balance and safety in their life.  However grateful they may have been for these packages only pales in comparison to what I received in return. 

So, my goals for 2012 include another community service project for Aria, as well as volunteer work in my community.  I may have lost some income this past year, but I didn’t lose any loved ones.  The truth is sitting here today I feel much more wealthy and secure than I did a year ago.  And that is a lesson I simply cannot lose.

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