Thursday, January 14, 2016

15 Ways to be a Better Person in 2016--NYTimes: A Year's Worth of Tips

The New York Times is my go-to for serious news, so every once in a while, the unexpected humor is extremely enjoyable, even inspiring--inspiring enough to reinterpret my own "How To Be A Better Prrson in 2016."

The Times' text is in bold--my text is plain.

Ideas for improving your existence in the coming year.

1. Wear comfortable underwear: this admonishment falls desperately short of being sound. If only it were necessary to just wear comfortable underwear. The effects of comfy undy can be undermined in less time than it takes to say "tight thongs" three times. Comfy undy is pointless without comfy jeans, shirts, shoes, dresses, PJ's, and no more panty hose--ever! If one can get away with it, ditch the bra too. In my arrogant twenties, thirties, early forties, I used to shake my head at old women who didn't wear bras, but more and more I am the old woman ignoring the aesthetically disturbing effect of gravity and daring to go braless when wearing an XXXLarge sweatshirt.

2. Drink coffee-As a non coffee drinker, I would have to say, drink spinach, kale, and carrot juice infused with blueberries, apple, lemon, banana or ginger. I have been drinking swamp water, or pond scum, as one of my colleagues calls it as he's gagging, and I've added years to my life. It certainly counteracts the damage of sugar cookies, macadamia nut chocolates, and nutella crepes with ice cream, which I feel confident in indulging in because I drink swamp water.

3. Stare into the eyes of someone you love or want to love for exactly four minutes Tony and I haven't stared into each other's eyes in decades; but maybe we have stared at each other for a few seconds as I'm trying to gage which direction he will go next when he chases me around the kitchen island. That too only happens a few times a year when I'm eating the last brownie or have a spoon of his Haagen Dazs in my mouth.

What I have found is that staring into the eyes of a newborn baby is enchanting and would easily fulfill the directive for the four minute stare.

4. Don't ghost. I can't imagine after so many years of marriage---ghosting, yet I can't imagine ghosting anyone in a relationship. I do know it happens. Sad. Be brave and break up in person.

5. Be nice to babies. Especially on airplanes. Think how they feel.

6. Dress in a way that makes you feel powerful. Nothing makes me feel more powerful than pajama pants, sweatshirt and thick socks. I only wear this combination when I'm at home and my home is my kingdom! These are the days I have deliberately chosen to stay home and somehow that makes me feel more powerful than standing and speaking in front of a roomful of students or adults.

7. If you divorce, play nice. All the kudos in the world go to my sister who after divorcing amicably, stayed amicable. She even became good friends with each new girlfriend in her exe's life-- she knew the important role each one would have in her daughter's life. When their daughter graduated from high school she received an engraved bracelet: love mom and Dad.

8. Toss the cigarettes Amen! Just make sure it's not lit and thrown into a can of oil. Really, I am overwhelmed by the people who smoke in Europe. A European once told us that there is no education as to the danger of smoking. Young girls are especially targeted by the big tobacco companies. What a shame.

9. Get a pet. Never! A recent houseguest left a few doggy surprises in my home when she needed an emergency pad and we were traveling. My advice for a better new year is to go ahead and have a pet, but leave it home. Or sweep the house for mines.

10. Take on a seemingly impossible task-ONLY if it brings you joy and fuels your passion. (Wow that was a cliché)

11. If you would like to keep your marriage together, stick it out- funny the statement is preceded by "if."

12. Put sex first. Even before a good piece chocolate cake?

13. Make sure you are the boss of your own electronic devices. Funny thing. I've started leaving my phone in the car when I go to church or a friend's home or where I might be distracted and when I want to give my full attention.  I remember the day when people could only get in touch when a person was home. Why do we give everyone unlimited access to our lives?

14. Relish the phrase, "I'm too old for this." Indeed.

15. Be generous to those who have helped you. Aand more especially to those who cannot.
After a few disenchanting encounters with beggars, professional beggars, beggars who stop limping when they turn the corner, I decided to be more generous to those who work and often those who work at menial paying jobs.

My own tip for the year: Do not feel obligated to answer all those business emails. Every flight is followed up by an email Take our short survey request: Delta airline really cares how your last flight was. Well one time I told them. Did they care? No. It was a situation they could have rectified or responded to, but did they? No.

Happy New Year.