It's the last day of 2008, and despite the recession, a horrible year in the stock market, global unrest and tons of gloom and doom, I'm feeling pretty hopeful for the new year.
Because every day is a new day, whether it's the first day of a new year or (quite simply) the first day of the rest of your life. Every day you're alive, you have a chance to make the world a better place by just doing your part, no matter how small or how large that part may be.
Let someone go ahead of you in the check-out lane at the grocery store. Smile at the person behind the counter and ask how their day is going. Pay someone you don't know a compliment -tell the clerk at the post office how nice they look today, or mention much you like their hair, sweater, manicure or earrings. Offer to pick up some groceries for your elderly neighbor. Walk somebody's dog. Do somebody's dishes. Spend some time with someone who needs a shoulder. Clean out your closet and take the old clothes to a shelter (and don't forget the socks... they always need socks!). Visit someone in the hospital.
Every day is filled with opportunities to make the world just a teeny bit better, one opportunity at a time. You can't fix global warming, but you can put a smile on someone's face. You can't solve homelessness, but you can help keep someone warm. And if, despite all your trying, you have a bad day and end up discouraged, I offer you this tidbit of wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson, which has helped me through many a bad day:
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.May 2009 be a year of wonders for you... wonders that you create for yourself by striving to be a better person in a myriad of tiny little ways that no one even notices but you.
Try it. You might be surprised.