Yesterday we talked about the challenges of being a lone sailor in a sea of couples for Valentine’s Day. This holiday highlights our ‘uno’ relationship status and many feel particularly lonely or discouraged. I would like to do my part to ward off those negative feelings. In my last post I talked about starting a Single File; a ‘place’ where your thoughts, activities and goals are stored so you can work on becoming the best version of YOU! We started off with the Friendship File. Today we move on with two more, starting with The Enrichment File.
The Enrichment File
I’m sure your life is full; mine definitely is. Yet, even with a rich and satisfying life, there is still room to grow. Our minds never stop thirsting for knowledge and we should strive for a steady flow of information, experiences, and conversations. For all the challenges and achievements won, there are multitudes still waiting for you to show up and conquer, ones that enhance joy and generate personal satisfaction. The possibilities are pretty endless, but let’s review just a few.
When was the last time you volunteered your time and energy for the good of another? You can volunteer for organizations, churches, or businesses. You can lend a hand, an ear, or a shoulder. It doesn’t always have to be work or serious. Often cities use volunteers to help with festivals and public events. Some artistic venues encourage volunteers to be greeters and ushers. If you need your heart warmed just a bit, try spending time with newborn babies in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or share an afternoon with a lonely elderly person. Volunteer to help with the charity of your choice. Whatever activity fits your lifestyle and your personality, there is a place you can help and the personal reward is unmatched. Be willing to share your love, wisdom, and encouragement with those around you.
Find a Hobby
Maybe you already have one. Great! Find a new one. I want your enrichment file to grow as you gain new skills and explore your capabilities. Test your boundaries and try something out of your comfort zone. If you lean towards inside activities, try something in the great outdoors. Join a hiking group or a walking group. Learn to play golf or tennis. Build a birdhouse or plant some flowers. Ride a bike or a horse. Learn to fish. If you feel extra brave and adventurous, take up scuba diving, skydiving, rock climbing. Not only will this have physical benefits, the mental stimulation can help offset or delay dementia or Alzheimer’s. If you have always favored the outdoors, take a crack at a new venture inside. Join a book club. Take a class at a local college. Learn to make jewelry. Take dancing lessons. Do not settle for one hobby or one favored activity. Get out there in this big world and explore, do, see. Show up and participate in the purposeful enrichment of your life. I cannot tell you how accomplished you will feel and what stories you will tell. I’m already excited for you to begin.
Ahhh...this one, you say, is too hard, too expensive, or too lonely. I get it. Most people do not wish to travel alone and to be honest, it can present some safety and financial challenges. But travel and exploration can encompass a variety of activities. How many of you truly know all there is about the town or surrounding area where you live? People who come to visit will find places to go that many hometown residents never heard of or took the time to explore. Take a tour of your hometown, or the one down the road. Discover the history, the beauty, and the people who make it special. If you want to take a road trip, gather your friends and pool your resources. A weekend getaway with friends who share expenses can become a reality, and just imagine the fun and memories.
Don’t forget the internet. You can google tours, cruises, and trips designed specifically for singles, even us SIMs! True, it will take courage to go by yourself, and you may have to work up to that, but do not dismiss the idea entirely. Take precautions and make good financial decisions, but we all gain a greater appreciation for the world around us when we take in its raw beauty. Work on your travel file and fill it with pictures, mementos, tacky bumper stickers, and cheap plastic cups. I want you to look back at this time of your life and have incredible memories and stories to share.
The Dream File
I saved this one for last. We all have a dream, or at least we all had one. Dreams are born just about the same time we are. There is an inner voice that starts calling to us at a young age. Passions emerge and for a time, nothing seems impossible. Then the world crashes in and most of us tuck away those soaring aspirations. I dare say, however, that most of us still have a dream or two floating around the recesses of our mind just waiting to be released. Today is the day I want you to let it out.
Dreams and/or life passions are as varied as the individuals who cherish them. I will not waste your time listing all the conceivable goals you could chase; you know which one means the most. I also do not have to tell you that most dreams come with a price. Taking a leap of faith to pursue a dream can be a lonely journey. You start out with excitement and the adrenaline propels you forward. You become laser-focused and sometimes put blinders on to fade out the distractions. Once you start on this course, it can take on a life of its own. That is not necessarily a bad thing, just understand it is your dream and not anyone else’s.
The bottom line for me is this: I wholly and completely encourage anyone and everyone to pursue, chase, follow, or even create their dreams or passions. My advice is to be smart, diligent, and patient. Be thoughtful in decisions and deliberate in actions. Have a healthy dose of reality and an extra dose of courage. Also understand, that just as with freedom, or any other worthwhile and important achievement, there is a price and a sacrifice. Both are worth it. The peace in your heart that you stepped off the sideline and into the game, giving it your best shot, is a feeling that time or money cannot create. Even if the game does not exactly turn out the way you want it, you still played it.
Your dream file will most likely be your smallest and most personal. That’s okay. Its sole purpose is to remind you that you were put here for a reason. Your gifts, talents, skills, and contributions were arranged and set out on the day you were born. This life has been a fulfillment of that beautiful destiny.
You now have the beginnings of a great Single File. Work hard to add to this file as often as possible. Make it a priority to expand each section and absolutely document your progress along the way. I encourage everyone to never let the “single” status slow down your life’s pursuits or make you feel incomplete or incapable. There is some truth that having a companion can make certain things easier and enjoyable. I will not deny that. There is also the absolute truth that happiness starts in our soul and when you decide to fully engage in life and make the most of every day, you will discover ways to enjoy the journey you never imagined possible. Never look to another for your joy. Find it in yourself, your gifts, your contributions, your friends, your dreams, your heart!
I hope that as Valentine’s Day dawns, you will have a new awakening yourself. One filled with all the possibilities waiting to fill your very own Single File!
Hope With Abandon!
Visit my website - www.hopeboulevard.com