Let’s imagine every resolution is going smashingly for you (and I really hope it is). You’ve balanced your budget, quit smoking, run a 5K, ate your (local/organic) veggies, squeezed into your skinny jeans for the first time since high school, and generally got your mighty fine act together. What other accomplishment could possibly add another feather to your cap of fabulousness? The final revolution to New Year’s resolutions is all about connecting…spending quality time with family and friends, meeting the love of your life, volunteering your time to help something/someone/somewhere. If I were Ed, I might burst into song now (just call on me brother, when you need a hand, we all need somebody to leeee-ean on).
We humans are all social animals. Even introverts crave company. Though we’ve never had more access to the random chatter of social networking sites (on facebook, on twitter, on pinterest…), interactive blogs (like this one!), texts, emails, facetime, and (insert latest-greatest tech trend here), there’s still a lot of loneliness out there. A friend once told me about a test he did on Facebook. He posted an open invitation to his 200+ friends to see who could meet up at a bar. A grand total of 2 people came. That’s a 1% success rate (hopefully a reflection of the difficulty in translating electronic communication to human contact, and not of his popularity).
So how do we spend more quality time with friends and family? This may mean spending a little less time in front of a screen…unless you use that screen to connect with said friends and family. And even better if you get outside to do it, developing an appreciation for your loved ones and the land they stand on. Our thing is family dinner time. We sit and eat at the dining table, not in front of the TV, and try to actually talk to each other. Yes, that conversation often involves telling our child to sit down, finish eating, and stop making that face or it’ll stay that way, but it’s a conversation nonetheless.
Want to fall in love? Get passionate about something, and that special someone may be right around the corner (or not, but at least you had some passion going on). Take a stab at joining in and chances are you’ll meet some nice, like-minded folks. And in that pool of niceness you might find something more. I had a friend who met her husband when she joined a mixed softball league. Another had some real success at a curling club (the rocks-on-ice kind, not the hair-in-rollers kind).
Take it further and do something good about an issue that really ticks you off. Whether it’s climate change, human rights, gun control, or getting new gym mats for your kid’s school, action trumps apathy. Remember that “to do nothing is to accept and to accept is to support (and it’s easy being green)”.
If you like any combination of health care and the environment, there’s lots of places that’ll have you. From the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care CCGHC, Ontario Nurses for the Environment ONEIG, to the 600 or so UHNers that form our green team and help us in too many ways to mention (though a wee shout-out to the research team for their fantastic shut the sash program).
In the ultimate good-karma trade off, helping others can help you forget your own problems and feel good about yourself. Find a cause that really means something to you and get involved. Yes, we’re biased towards the environment, but we believe any volunteering can be rewarding…think volunteering in a hospital, delivering meals to the aged, walking dogs at an animal shelter, answering a distress line…these are all fulfilling things that keep us connected. And that, my friend, is bigger than the both of us.