Today is the 18th of December.
For newcomers to our community, let me explain. Each month on the 18th, no matter how busy or how wrapped up we may be in the week's creative ideas, we stop what we are doing and reflect on our month's high (best thing that happened), low (worst thing that happened), and aha (something your learned). We engage in the simplicity of this activity because it is, in fact, the origin of this blog's name (see post titled, "Ding, Ding, Ding, I Interrupt This Programming" from 4/29 for more details).
We do it on the 18th because, in this community, the number 18 carries special significance. The seed for HLA's first blog entry was planted on the 18th of February (2/18/08); the birthdays of both my parent's (of whom I am a reflection) falls on July and August 18th, respectively; and HLA's reminder to make time for life's little pleasures is summarized in our challenge to "Live the Spirit of 218."
Today, I hope you will join me, and the rest of our community, in finding a moment of solitude amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to reflect on your highs, lows, and ahas of last month. Lurkers and newcomers, jumping in and sharing on this day of this month would feel a little like getting a box with a big red bow on top - the ultimate gift. Consider it, would you? For added incentive, remember... we do a drawing of everyone who posts his/her HLA and send one lucky winner a Highlowaha t-shirt.
Now let me try to set the mood and then I'll go first.
- High: I want to say the excitement of the holidays, the outcome of our Helping Hands project, or receiving greeting cards from friends I only hear from a couple of times a year. BUT, if I'm being disciplined and only picking one... it was a 30-minute, spontaneous coffee date with an acquaintance last week. I see this woman only on occasion at the preschool my boys attend. She saw me sitting in Starbucks one morning and asked if she could join me. Naturally I said yes and we spent the next 30 minutes engrossed in great conversation. She ended the conversation by giving me a very thoughtful compliment. She shared with me, that a couple of weeks ago, on her day off, she changed all her plans so she could hand deliver an unexpected treat to a friend who was leaving on a trip. She said, watching me inspired her to want to do it! (I could go a very long time on that high).
- Low: My car is a pain. My "Do" list is long. And, I spent 3-4 days this month feeling under the weather. My real low this month, however, has been the constant, low-grade worry I am feeling. People in my sphere of friends and family have lost jobs, the cost of oil to heat homes is prohibitive for many (including people I know), and the ripple effect of a bad economy is putting strain on lots of the people we have daily interactions with. I don't want to sound completely selfless or like the consummate humanitarian. I'm not (but aspire to be). I am, however, a worrier and it is hard to dismiss the hardships many are feeling.
- Aha: Hanging around with all of you fills my months with more ahas than I might have had otherwise. This month I learned a little about dueling in Paraguay, Mozart's childhood, the beauty of Zulu bead work, and the lasting impact of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address... among other things. However, I measure this month's biggest "aha" as the thing I will carry with me the longest. That being said, the single biggest "aha" I've had this month is the clarity with which we can see our worst shortcomings, simply by watching the imperfect behavior of our children. I listen to my children get impatient with one another and, sadly, I recognize the tones in their voices all too well (I choose to believe this also applies to our best qualities)!
Signing off until tomorrow...