Wow, it’s February already, and time for all the New Year’s resolutions to either take root or be destined to the rubbish heap of irresolution. As a family, we often reviewed the year gone by sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, annually listing our commitments to do better next year. This changed when I read a blog by Lindsey Weigle from Bluewater Advisory where she shared a great idea – instead of a list of resolutions why not just a word to focus the year around!

I was the quintessential multi-tasker permanently tethered to an electronic chain, much to the disdain of colleagues and family, especially family. So, the 2020 word came easy for me, it was all about being “present.” No, I am not saying I pulled this off perfectly, however it is interesting what you notice when you do look away from that mesmerizing screen. On an evening walk along the esplanade, an endless line of cars parked in the glow of a gorgeous Pacific sunset, most of their occupants glued to their phones!

My yearend re-reading of Younger Next year by Chris Crowley and his conversation about “caring” hit home. An amazing book, and for me, a gift that keeps on giving every time I read it, Chris talks about beginning the journey to care with one’s self, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, how true. I often portion my peer, mentor, and family check-ins into four areas – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual–an easy time-tested template.

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you”  – Katie Reed

I believe a strong foundation of self-care will then allow me to “care around me.” Friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, clients, local causes, national causes, global causes even, those concentric ripples of care, echoing outward endlessly, and it all begins with the groundwork of caring for oneself first. Failing to be the journey a look inward would perhaps be as relevant as hiring an overweight personal trainer.

There is no doubt that we are social beings, each and everyone one of us, designed to care. The book did remind me that this ember of caring, could be nurtured and “built to aspire beyond ourselves,” to volunteer in soup kitchens or build cathedrals, on a journey to nurture the selflessness within us.

I often wonder what motivates a US Navy Seal to protect his teammates. No amount of fame, fortune, or threat of mortal danger would allow them to leave a fellow Seal behind. In 2001, what motivated firemen to race up the collapsing twin towers to save lives? More recently, front-line workers showing up for seemingly endless 24-hour shifts to nurse highly contagious Covid19 patients.

Science has studied the deadly effect of a lack of love, stimulation, and care on human babies. I believe that human beings who are not loved or cared for, or for that matter human beings who are devoid of care,  atrophy and stop “being”.  And so, this year, or for the next 11 months at least, I would like to embark on a journey of CARING.