1. Resolve to be generous with your time and money, but never ever give to charity.
You can practically hear the sinews of humanity ripping apart when we think of people as charity cases. We scroll or stroll by and throw money at them.
If it weren’t for the most microscopic twist of genetics or timing, you might be the one paralyzed from the neck down, or the person sleeping in the doorway.
I know it’s terrifying, but always give to others knowing we’re all in the same lifeboat.
2. Whether you can give time and money or not, be generous with your spirit. For New Year’s, give up pity.
I do not mean sympathy or empathy. I mean pity.
I have only been pitied a few times, but ouch did it sting. I’ve written about having breast cancer, and I’ve had people pity me. There is just nothing worse than having another person not see your whole feisty strong self and only see your disease.
That woman at the shelter? No pity allowed! She deserves justice and respect—not pity. Remember that.
3. Do not leave healthy relationships to chance. Talk to your kids.
Talk to them. Don’t think about talking to them. Don’t plan to talk to them. Don’t hope that someone else will talk to them. Infant to teen. Maybe especially teens—as hard as they are to approach sometimes. Right? Start (or continue) today.
4. Promote love.
Surprise! I got married. On New Year’s Day. To my sweetie of 27+ years. We could partake of marriage and the multitude of rights it brings because we live in the great state of Washington. Thank you citizenry.
Check out this cool map and see how the face of our nation is being transformed by debate and political action around who can love whom. And listen to this cool podcast with two guys who have been engaged in a multi-year conversation about the merits of love and marriage (skip to minute 27 for the part that convinced me to take the plunge).
5. Help end violence in relationships by ending violence against yourself.
Bring all the negative and cynical self-talk into sharp focus and then kindly and gently let go. Over and over again. Stop beating yourself up about beating yourself up. Stop beating yourself up about beating yourself up about beating yourself up. And so on, until you start to find it funny. Know that you are not alone. Feeling bad about ourselves seems to be one of our national pastimes. It is hard to be a generous, sympathetic, creative activist if you feel like crap. Take care of yourself for the sheer joy of doing so and enjoy this glorious year of 2014 on this glorious planet earth.
1. Give up charity—seek connection
2. Give up pity—seek connection
3. Do not leave healthy relationships to chance—seek connection
4. Promote equality in love everywhere you can—seek connection
5. Stop beating yourself up—seek connection