There is a saying that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. I’m not sure who said this, but I think it is probably true. My hope for 2021 is that I learned some powerful lessons from 2020. I have learned the value of family and friends, of being resilient and grateful for what I have instead of focusing on what I’m missing, and of leading a better balanced life. So instead of resolving to lose weight or reach some specific career goal, this year I am focusing on good life goals. Instead of throwing all my efforts into one thing, I hope to do a little of everything. Here are some resources I’ve found to help in whatever goals you set for yourself.
The internet gives us the extraordinary gift of being able to access knowledge from around the world. One of my favorite resources is MasterClass. Some of the best and the brightest teach everything from bread baking (Appollonia Poilane) to creativity and leadership (Anna Wintour). Learning new things is a natural desire. Prioritizing it is an important good life goal. So google something you are curious about and you might be surprised at the learning opportunities.
This year was overwhelming in seeing so many people who needed help. But we all need to start somewhere. Growing up, my mother used to say that charity begins at home so that’s where I’m starting. Donating to causes around the world is wonderful and necessary but also working to improve your local community gives you the additional benefit of understanding the challenges people face on a very personal level. In Lake Forest, we have the Open Lands Association which focuses on environmental conservation and the Infant Welfare Society among many, many more.
With so many angry voices on social media and TV, it is tempting to be negative. To focus on what you don’t have instead of what you do. I found this wonderful app called Gratitude, which forces you to pause to see the good. Whether you use an app to remind you to note something positive from your day or an old fashioned notebook, one of my good life goals is to remember that I am lucky.
For me, living a good life isn’t as simple as doing one thing really well. It’s being able to prioritize, and shift so that I can do many things well. I used to let my calendar fill up with requests for my time. I quickly found that, if I didn’t block out time for other things, they never happened. Now I make sure that I block out time for dinner with my family, conversations with my friends, walks with my dog, and downtime for myself. It may sound silly, but if it’s on my calendar, I do it. And it is as simple as using the calendar app on my phone.
Some people have a career in an area they are passionate about. Others need to get that from outside activities. I think it is important to make time for things you love. Whether it is writing, gardening, cooking, blogging, decorating, crafting, or something else, one of my life goals is to indulge in something for myself. Again, simply Googling your hobby will give you a plethora of classes and online groups you can join. Not only will you get to do something you love, you may meet a few like minded people in the process. I’ve taken online classes through UCLA Extension and have loved every minute.
So much of our lives have been outsourced and I’m not sure that is such a good thing. I think there is still a little room in this world for a more old-fashioned, simpler life. Since the pandemic started, I have expanded the definition of my “job” to include not only earning an income but also doing my own cooking (versus takeout), my own cleaning, my own yard work, home improvement projects, and learning and playing games at home with my family. I think there is something to be said for this and I hope to keep it up.
While it is important to stay informed and champion change, it is also important to remember to see the beautiful things in life too. I love to finish my days on a positive note and will either watch a program from the Hallmark Channel or read a relaxing book. I also make sure that my home decor and gardens are cheerful and cozy, a calm away from the storm.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021. I hope each and every one of you reach all of your good life goals this year.