Generosity

I do not make New Years resolutions. I never keep them and if I need to do something better or stop doing something I am not the type that needs an artificial start date.

However, before the holidays the word Generosity popped into my head. I resolved to consider this as a resolution. I decided to try it out without announcing it to anyone but myself and see how well I do. I am failing so far. Thankfully there are 49 weeks left in this year and, hopefully, many years left in my life to get this right.

So, what do I mean by generosity? Certainly the monetary definition holds. I will try to contribute to charities at least at the same level I have in the past despite the damage done to my retirement portfolio.

There is also generosity of time. Especially as it relates to my son who will leave for college in the fall I want to give as much time as he will take. I will also for the rest of my life need to make time for my autistic sister who is not dealing well with the death of our mother and needs as much family time as possible. I need to find more time with my wife. It will be just the two of us in the house starting next year and we should start finding more things to do together now. The other time issue will be others who may need a moment or an afternoon or even a day of my time that will make their lives better. Figuring out where this time will come from given a fairly packed schedule will be challenging.

However important money and time are I believe they pale in comparison to generosity of spirit. By this I mean being more aware of what and how I say things to people as well as how I interpret their words and actions. It also means sharing emotions which I often keep bottled up. This facet of generosity will be the most difficult for me. I find that I am programmed to respond to certain people and circumstances based on years of history. I am short or condescending to people including people I care about–especially people I care about. A scientific 6 week study of ME has revealed that even though I am aware of the desire to be generous of spirit I often fell into familiar traps. I liken it to having one of those out-of -body experiences in which I hover over my self and watch myself speak in ways I know are wrong. Good thing that I am perfect in all other ways!

So I have decided to go public with this Generosity thing so others can hold me accountable as part of my plot to be successful with this endeavor.

I am also offering it up to the rest of the world.  Generosity of spirit, time and money could go a long way to making this a better place to live.

Change Is Good

I am slow to change. I changed jobs voluntarily once in 27 years. I just changed my hair style for the first time in over 20 years. You get the picture.

I know intellectually that embracing change is good. Heck, it is going to happen anyway whether you embrace it or not. Some of the happiest people I know have reinvented themselves at work several times.

We also tend to like change in others–as long as they conform to what we want them them to be. Then we can really embrace change–your change. That is why I very much enjoyed the January 3rd edition of the comic Pardon My Planet. I was unfamiliar with the comic. It runs in the Chicago paper that I do not read but luckily for me also in the Honolulu Advertiser.

Unfortunately the website is a month behind or I would print the specific comic. Picture a man and a woman, he in his late 50s she in her late fouties. they are well dress, sitting at a small round table in a fancy restaurant, holding hands. She looks at him and says, “Actually, I’m not afraid of change – I embrace change, I crave change. Especially if its changing something back to the way I wanted it in the first place.”

Now that’s my kind of change! (Actually I hope you are picking up on the sarcasm.)

Too often this is how people think of change. Too often this is how organizations (perhaps work/bosses) think of change.

It is soooo very easy for us to see the change needed in others, obvious really. Not so easy to see the need to change ourselves.

One last perspective on change from early SNL.