My, how time flies when you’re having fun! It took a minute, but I finally realized time flies even if you’re not having fun! Every decade, every year, and every day brings its own set of challenges as old years become new ones and time marches on.
As 2019 fades into history there’s so much happening—school-public massacres, religious and migrant persecution, the highly anticipated presidential election, equity squabbles, severe weather, wildfires, flooding, teen/veteran suicides, domestic violence, impeachment, —it’s difficult not to be anxious. Nevertheless, the future moves ahead and though we’re in a firestorm of upheaval and change, we get to choose whether/how we fight — with water or accelerants.
There is much we can’t and don’t control, like where or when the sun rises and sets, but what we can control, we must. We can make 2020 better and I pray we will. Start with these five suggestions:
Adjust your attitude. Your attitude determines your altitude according to author Zig Ziglar. If you think you can, you can, and nothing great can be achieved without enthusiasm. Avoid negativity and cynicism because they rot from the inside out.
Get politically active and involved. You don’t have to be passionate about every topic but please fight for those that matter— affordable housing, education, and healthcare, fairness, justice, care for veterans and their families, safe neighborhoods, public places, and schools. My new bumper sticker will be a gentle reminder: “Voting makes the difference—whining doesn’t.”
Pay attention. A man on his phone almost walked into me last week. I wondered what was so important it couldn’t wait. I thank God for the new Tennessee Hands-free phone law because it will save lives.
It’s much better to focus on driving and talk when you get to point B instead of juggling both. Pay attention to your surroundings, your health—all facets of it –financial, mental, physical, your personal information—everything! An ounce of prevention is priceless.
Get ready to live and die. Nobody’s getting up a load to eternity today, but you need to be ready, just in case. Make known your preferences so we won’t have to guess if/where you want to be cremated/buried/etc. At every funeral I’ve attended lately, I’ve made notes about what I want and don’t want at mine, just in case.
I’m also planning for an official living will to replace the make-do one I fashioned 15 years ago. Make a regular will, too. Somebody somewhere said even if you only have a dime, make a will. After the fights that come when famous and not so famous people die without handling their business, do it for you and your family.
Cousin to the one immediately above, invest in people, places and things that you love. In 1982, Roger preached at two small United Methodist churches in rural western Kentucky. The children and I tagged along, and we were the only African Americans for miles around, but the parishioners decided that they would invest in us and our big new adventure—seminary for Roger and undergraduate studies for me. For three years, every month like clockwork, we received a small check from them and over the years we have been paying it forward.
Invest in your public library, arts community, or other great causes—let your heart decide. It’s not how much you give, it’s the consistency and intent.
Finally, let’s imagine what’s next and enjoy every moment of this new year. It will be filled with innovation and upheaval, but let’s be brave as we conquer our fears, keep calm, and carry on.
How do you plan for 2020 to go? Drop your comments to me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.