*Please note that this blonde, Jen Tucker, recognizes that her issues can cross hair color borders. She welcomes all people, with open arms, that have ever suffered from blonde moments, blonde jokes, or ate a Blondie brownie, regardless of the color at their roots.*
HAPPY 2013! We made it, my Survival for Blondes Family! The Mayans must have forgotten to take into account Leap Years, Daylight Savings Time, velocity of wind shear, Arby’s Special Sauce ingredients and so many other crucial factors when it comes to calendar keeping. Some of you exhaled a sigh of relief when you realized all was well, as you smacked the snooze button on your alarm. Others might’ve cursed the fact they awoke December 23, and headed to work after spending their last Susan B. Anthony on hiring the band R.E.M. to headline their end of the world party. How do we carry on after all that excitement?
Let’s look at the New Year, and non-climactic end of the planet, as a “redo” of sorts. I’m not talking resolutions. I’m talking revolutions. Making mini-earthquakes of change in your life that impact you, as well as help others at the same time. I hear you groaning now .… Ugh, Jen, that’s nice and all, but I don’t have time, I don’t have cash, and I just don’t have the Red Bull-laced energy to take care of myself, let alone someone else. I hear you, people I hear you. Let me give you a handful of ways to make some small changes that benefit you, and can be a blessing to others.
- Loose the Leisure Suits - Look in your closet. Look in your desk drawer. Look in the place you fear most—under your bed. What are you hanging on to? Your Guess Jeans overalls from 1987? The poodle candle you made in Girl Scouts when you were 9 years old? Okay, maybe that’s only applicable to my closet, and it’s not doing anyone any good with me hoarding it. Cleaning out the clutter in the closets, drawers and cabinets will lead to rediscovery of treasures, and also ready you to part with items others might treasure. You know what they say; one person’s trash is another person’s ticket to the Antiques Roadshow. Let it go and give it a good home elsewhere. No more cluttering up your life.
- “You want me to give away my friends?”- That little humdinger is what my mother said to me when I suggested she donate the multiple appliance boxes in her attic, which were full of books, to a library or retirement community. I get that it can be painful to part with things. Remember though, they are just that; things. Not people, relationships, or memories. The gift of reading is a blessing. Pass a book on for someone else to enjoy too. Like I told my mom, if your “friends” are sitting in boxes in your attic, isn’t that considered a felony? Set them free and see them loved by others.
- Cut it out!- I mean it! Could you do it? Would you be willing to cut one thing from your life to put a smile on someone else’s face? This month I’m cutting out my birthday. Let me back up just a tad and explain. I love my birthday. I would lobby that it be deemed a daily, national holiday. Not to celebrate me, rather to celebrate another day of living life. This year, I’m asking my friends not to buy me dinner (cringe), not to pick up a cute new bracelet for me (Eek!) or buy me a bottle of wine (Have I gone too far?). I want them to cut one thing out of their lives for a short period of time, then donate the money they would’ve spent to make someone’s day brighter. I’m leading the charge. I decided no Starbucks or Sonic Happy Hour lime-cherry drinks this month. Instead, I donated $25 through Kiva to help Halle’s company One Mango Tree provide material to Ugandan women who make garments and accessories, and also to educate new tailors, as Halle presents their goods in the global marketplace. Let me be clear, Starbucks dates with my friends are a necessity to my sanity. Yet, I think I’ll cherish having my girls over to my house a little bit more, where we can curl up and chat on the couch, while drinking Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate, while knowing I made a difference in a woman’s life. *I believe in being a silent giver too, but doing this with you is something we should celebrate and infect others with together*
- The Cost of Love- NBC News reporter, Ann Curry, was motivated by the devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December to implore people to commit to one act of kindness for each life lost. The movement, coined #20acts or #26acts on Twitter, has made the nation devour their roles in random acts of kindness in a major way. What a legacy to leave, not just to honor those who left their families too soon, but also for those who took the initiative to make a difference in the lives of strangers.
How about you? Could you hold the door to the supermarket open just a tad longer for the gentleman a few steps behind you whose pace might not be as quick as yours? Could you leave a note telling your mail carrier how much you appreciate them in sleet, rain, and heat? When’s the last time you paid someone a compliment for no other reason than it came from the heart? Let’s move mountains, friends. Let’s love one another with our time and talents. Let’s make room for giving in our lives and spread it around. I promise for every selfless act you commit, the joy you feel in your heart will overflow. If you would honor my 42nd year on the planet, by doing something good for someone else in 2013, I would be forever grateful. Thank you.
Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like. A former teacher and educator, she has worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries. Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes where she marries humor with preparedness. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children.