As I was sitting here thinking about what I wanted to share this week, I realized that this is my last column of 2009.
I started to reflect on the past 12 months. This quickly took me to a place of complete confusion and insecurity as I started questioning myself: "What have I written about over the past 52 weeks? Have I offered anything remotely valuable? Have I helped anyone understand how much they matter? Made them smile? Grow?"
I also started to think about my voice. Not literally the sounds that come out of my mouth, but the messages I put on paper. Writing a weekly syndicated column is not something I take lightly. It comes with a lot of responsibility ... arguably, a burden. I never quite understood this until my column right after Thanksgiving when I mentioned doing a full body cleanse. I got so many e-mails from people asking me what cleanse I was doing. It was both shocking and humbling. And, it was a quick reminder that the words I choose and the messages I communicate are important.
I also started to reflect on how much I have changed over the past year. At first, I never wanted to write my column from the first person. It is the same reason why I never understood Facebook or Twitter. Why do people care about what "I" think, say, or do? So, instead, I started by writing stories about other people or about Every Monday Matters.
Never miss a local story.
Never about or from "Me." But one Monday, I decided to write the column from my point of view. To get vulnerable with my life, my thoughts, my heart ... and there was no comparison in the number of responses. Not because of me, but because people appreciated the "nakedness" of it. The willingness to just go out there with truth, love, and heart, regardless of what people might think. And, since that Monday, I have changed how I write this column.
I also started to review the different topics I covered over the past 52 weeks. From the environment to helping other people to helping ourselves. There was quite an eclectic offering. But there also is a common thread. It is a thread that I believe touches every single aspect of our life. And, this is what I want to focus on as I finish this final column of 2009.
The thread is you.
You matter. That's it. That is the thread that brings it all together and makes it all make sense. Whether you are helping others by volunteering at a soup kitchen, feeding your soul by relaxing and reading a book, taking care of your health by eating good food, or helping our environment by picking up a piece of litter, you matter. Your role in this world is more important than you can ever imagine. The impact you make on a daily basis is always felt. And, the ripple effects of your actions can never be measured.
Whether you are a mother, father, son, daughter, friend, aunt, uncle, neighbor, boss, employee, husband, wife, or total stranger to someone, you matter. This is a big honor, but it is also a big responsibility. And, much like I view writing this column, it is something you can't take lightly. Every single day presents hundreds of opportunities to make a difference in the world. To touch someone's life in the biggest or smallest of ways. This is great news, because a life spent trying to have a positive impact on somebody or something is a pretty special life.
We can try our hardest but we will never run out ways to make a difference. There is no limit to how many times you can smile throughout your day. We will never have too many trees. And, there will always be children who need role models. Thus, all we are left with is a choice. A simple choice that, in my opinion, isn't even a choice at all. Because whether you know it or not, you matter ... and there is no changing that.
So, maybe in these last few days of 2009, you can spend some time thinking about this. Understand how important you are. Not from an "It's all about me" perspective, but from an "I Matter" perspective. It is a simple matter of fact. And, I believe you will find new purpose, greater peace, and deeper fulfillment as you begin to act on this understanding in 2010.
Happy New Year.