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Favorite Time of Year

It’s not just the cold weather and the bright glow of neighborhood, celebratory, lights that I love about this time of year…no, it’s something more than that.  The Holiday Season has a way of making people smile a little bit more…it could be the gathering of families (or perhaps not!), the days off of work, the chilly mornings and even chillier nights, the threat of snow, the sales, the festive sweaters, or receiving gifts that seems to makes people so giddy.  For me, it’s always been about ‘the giving’. 

It wasn't until the fall of 2010, though, that I really and truly made it a point to ‘give’ a little more than what had been comfortable for me to give in years past. Actually, it was #3 on my 2010 New Year’s Resolutions List – yes, I still have the list! See below, from 2010:

  • give compliments daily
  • bring lunch to work more often
  • give more of yourself this year – time, attention, clothing, smiles, food, or perhaps even money
  • talk less; ‘act more’
  • be more prepared
  • read 1 book/month
  • try more new things
  • volunteer
  • take more chances
  • start fewer sentences with the word ‘I’
  • be more relentless
  • be a better neighbor
  • become a better listener
  • drink more hot tea
  • travel more
  • plan for, commit to, write, and perform a 5 minute standup comedy routine – I did this…and I recorded it…and no, you can’t watch it!

2013 has been an enlightening year for me – lots of learning.  What I’ve found to be amazing is how my ‘giving’ has genuinely matured over the past 3 years.  In 2010, it was money that I gave – various charities, funds, causes, etc.  By 2011 I came to realize that wasn’t fulfilling enough…so… I thought long and hard as to how I could make more of a difference.  By 2012 my #1 goal became: do all that I could possibly do to positively affect other people’s lives.  I began to focus ‘giving my time’ to organizations such as the Humane Society and other community groups – to be honest, that did ‘move my emotional needle’ more than I’d anticipated. 

What I’ve come to believe (and to truly understand) is this: while money, time, and clothing donations can (and do) make a difference in others people’s lives, it’s the giving of true, deeply rooted, genuine respect and compassion to all people that I encounter (in all instances) that’s really the greatest, emotional, needle mover…for me, at least. 

It’s taken me close to 4 years to get to this point…but, I now seem to give better, more authentic, attention to others each and every day of my life.  Little things like: better eye contact with others,  better listening when others talk, and most of all…better acknowledgement.  I know, I know, it sounds a bit corny, but it’s made a significant difference in my life.  I can honestly say that I now feel as though I have more purpose.  Sure, I’ve given hours and hours and hours or my time to various organizations to help clean up rivers and trails, to help feed those who could use a hot meal, and to walk dogs that just want/need some human interaction…but…nothing has made more of a difference in my life than the giving of more humanity to others. 

This Holiday Season, I’m thankful for my family and friends and to the entire HTO, Ltd family because I know so many of them also share this same mission/passion/goal.  To help people is one thing…but to truly have a positive impact on/in someone else’s life is an entirely different animal…and it doesn’t necessarily have to include buying anything for anyone. 

Happy Holidays to you all – may this season, and beyond, be all that you want it to be because you MAKE IT BE WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE! 

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