Let the magic begin . . . here I come 2018!

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and award-
winning columnist.

Living the Sweet Life: 

I saw Wonder Woman, and it made me jealous.  Welcome to my new year of Wonderment! Yep, that’s right – 2018 could be yours, too. What I really mean to say is with a little discipline and genuine desire, you can be transformed permanently.

The ending of this year is by far better than the last, but it brought some significant changes to many of us with the storms and displacement. Actually, the last three years have not been all that nice to me, and I, for one, am looking for a change. What kind of change?  The kind of change that sparks magical thinking with a movement forward and a sassy “no looking back” kind of attitude. I’m betting that I am not alone.  Many of us would like to have a magical next year, too. I don’t want to wait for it to get here either!  Instead of waiting for it, this time I want anticipate it with wide open expectant arms!

So how do we do it? What can we each do that would improve ourselves and satisfy a need for a more comfortable, mindful, more fulfilled life these next twelve months? For one, and I know it will sound cliché, but I think we should live each day as if it were our last. Decide before January begins that you are going to make some changes that will actually last. Don’t wait for the holidays to be over to then decide what your life will look like in 2018. Make some decisions right now.

I think one way I am going to make 2018 different is to disengage in so much social media. I spend way too much time trying to find the perfect content and then find the time to post to the world that too often I look over a week, and I have glazed through seven more days trying to accomplish things that may not even make a difference in my happiness whatsoever. I am going to create a content calendar, post it to Hootsuite and walk away. My number has been the same for over twenty years.  If someone is trying to find me, it’s not a difficult task to do so, and checking my phone and social media all day does not seem to change the end results both for my business or my social life. So why be so caught up in that?  Instead of engaging with my iPhone, I would rather engage with the living creatures around me. It will be a part of my new secret formula for 2018. To be in each moment, rather than a bystander of life, creates meaning and “meaning” is what I mean when I declare magic and wonderment in the here and now.

There’s something called pronoia. It’s a belief in the goodwill of others, and when you can recognize it fully, you’ll find you have tapped into a place where you feel blessed to be alive and can witness wonderment in your everyday life. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The other day I was out grabbing lunch, and I smiled at a man at the restaurant. Now mind you, me smiling at a perfect stranger is not unusual. I always try to make eye contact with people and smile at them even if they just stare back and ignore me. Call me polite – call me weird. This man came up to me and said, “You have a beautiful smile, thank you for sharing it!” I had not done anything different, but because of his reaction, I felt different and was grateful that here this perfect stranger “got it.” How often would just simply smiling at someone make their day a little better? Why don’t we think like that all of the time?

Inspiring each of us to be kind to one another, thinking about where we are and interacting with one another is a form of a blessing especially in a plugged in digital world. Seeing each day as a new opportunity to seek to find a secret something, be it a stranger’s smile or a flower in my garden or an afternoon to sit and visit with a friend, is part of living a whole and fulfilled life. So, my idea of 2018 is not to list what I need to do. It’s not to dwell and waste my precious life posting and checking to see how many “likes” I got. No, this year I am in wonderment training. It has been declared, envisioned and proclaimed.  Now all I have to do is set forth on my journey and just do it!

Take Care of YOU!