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Living Simple Priorities For the New Year

Updated on December 20, 2012

DISCLAIMER

No, this is not a series of New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t believe in resolutions, but I do believe in establishing goals based on my priorities.

What’s the difference? I guess my main problem with resolutions is the bad rap they have gotten over the years. You know, the promise that you will lose more weight and then giving up on that promise by January 31st? Resolutions carry with them a short-term, one-time-only connotation, and that’s not my intent with this article.

The priorities I am setting are guidelines which will serve as a beacon to steer by in 2013. Perhaps not surprisingly, these priorities are no different from the ones I set in January, 2012. Why? Simply because I believe this Living Simple lifestyle is mandatory for happiness and contentment in life. I have tried the alternative. I have tried working sixty hour weeks and not seeing my family. I have tried working harder to pay for possessions. I have tried meeting “wants” rather than “needs” and I don’t plan on returning to a lifestyle that did not work.

With that explanation out of the way, allow me to share my priorities for the upcoming year. Perhaps you’ll find one or two doable for you and if that is the case, then I will be pleased that my thoughts brought about a change in your lifestyle as well.

Doing nothing!
Doing nothing! | Source

SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY

There is nothing more important to me than the love of my family. I have no idea how much time I have on this planet, so I’d really like to spend as much of that time as possible with my loved ones. Duh!

I say duh, but it is amazing how many people spend more time with their jobs than they do with their family. Think about it! If you work full-time, you are spending eight hours minimum each day at work. Now add the time it takes to get ready for work, and the traveling time to and from work, and chances are you are spending ten hours each and every day in a work-related activity.

Now, how much time to do you spend with your wife, husband, and kids each day?

Do you see the problem?

When I was growing up, evenings were family time. I would do my homework right after dinner, and then the rest of the evening was spent with my mom and dad. I am not relating an occasional occurrence, but rather five nights per week, fifty-two weeks per year. It was called “family time” and my parents believed in the value of it.

Today I believe in the value of it.

FIND TIME TO EXERCISE AND IMPROVE MY HEALTH

I have quite a few pictures of my dad just before he died at the age of forty-nine. He looked older than I do today at sixty-four, and he acted older.

I don’t plan on growing up! Having a childlike wonder about life keeps us young, as does exercise. I like being active, and I am active because I have taken care of myself over the years, and still do, and I will continue to do so.

The longer I can keep my mind and body healthy, the longer I can enjoy this fantastic gift I have been given. That gift, by the way, is called life!

Finding Balance

FIND BALANCE IN MY LIFE BETWEEN CREATING AND BEING

I struggle with being a workaholic. There, the ugly little truth is out of the closet. I get an idea in my head and then I chew on it like a dog with a bone, and I won’t give that bone up for anything.

I was like that as a teacher as well. Always the first to school and the last to leave. There was always something else I needed to do to make my lessons “perfect.” Now I am a writer, and I can easily become consumed with the writing game. I currently have fifteen articles waiting for me to write; the ideas flood my brain and I keep pushing myself to find more time to complete them.

Not healthy at all!

I need to find a balance in my life, and I will continue to work at that in 2013….and that leads us to the next point.

SPEND TIME DOING NOTHING

There is such beauty in doing nothing! Do you remember as a child, laying down on the grass and watching the clouds float by? Why don’t we do that any longer? Well, because we are too busy doing that which we mistakenly think is important.

We need moments where our brain and body can just shut down. It is crucial to our well-being that we learn this valuable lesson. We do not always have to be doing something!

I know people who cannot do this; even when they are sitting still their minds are going a mile a minute planning and worrying.

Put the brakes on and stop! Breathe! Allow the flow of life to pass through you! It is truly magical when it happens, and we hold the key.

We are all stewards of this great beauty!
We are all stewards of this great beauty! | Source

IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT

Living Simple is all about getting back to basics, and few things are more basic than the environment in which we live. I am surrounded by beauty, but that beauty is threatened daily by people who do not live a simple life, but rather pollute and pillage our most precious resource.

The more I live simple, the more I become a steward of the environment. My goal is to lessen my footprint on this planet, and by doing so insuring that others who come after me will be able to enjoy it as much as I have.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD

Living Simple is not about isolating myself so that I am free of the rest of humanity. It is about recognizing that I am a member of a family of seven billion people, and being a member of that family carries with it a responsibility.

How can I enjoy my time on this planet when others are suffering? Today I see complacency replacing civic responsibility. I see apathy replacing commitment, and I see fear replacing love.

I am an instrument of change. I cannot turn my head and hope that social problems disappear.

I come from a time and place where people helped each other. It wasn’t that long ago when neighbors looked out for one another, and if there was an injustice being performed, people rose up to fight that injustice.

Now…..well, times have changed, and I find that sad, but instead of sitting around mourning the state of the world, I choose to return to simpler times where people smiled and lent helping hands to those in need.

H.O.W. do I make a difference? We’ll never know unless I’m willing to try!

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT

I often wonder if maybe I’m not hopelessly stuck in the past, but then I take a look at the state of civilization now and I realize maybe it’s okay to long for simpler times. Then I realize that I don’t need to long for simpler times; I can actually live them, and so that’s what I intend to do.

I wish for all of you a very Happy New Year! The cool thing about it is that the New Year can be one of your making. You can choose what that year will look like, and you can choose to shape it into whatever you want it to be.

We only get one shot at this thing called life. I plan on making my one shot a bullseye by enjoying every minute of it.

How about you?

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Another great one Bill! As I have been walking the dogs every day recently, its the calm of "doing nothing" while enjoying the great outdoors (rain, snow or shine). I leave my cell phone at home and truly enjoy the peace and solitude of my time. I like your emphases on family and balance, as well. Sound advice for now and the New Year!

      Best to you!! Steph

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, what a sacrilege....you leave your cell phone at home???? LOL That action right there puts you in about a 5% minority. :)

      Have a wonderful weekend, Steph; not sure if the rain is going to hold off on Saturday for you. I do know it's going to be chilly for sure.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Bill - packing now! I'm used to running in the cold and wind. Rain? no problem!! Have a great weekend too. Hope to see you next week!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Beautiful priorities for the new year and can say this many of them are on my list as well, especially enjoying my family (Kevin and the girls) more. Thanks seriously for sharing this one and you know I have voted up, plus shared all over, too!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Same here, Steph; maybe we will be able to get together next week. Hope so!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I had no doubt that you would be on board with number one! Thank you and have a great weekend!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      Bill - This is so inspirational. I love your "doing nothing" picture, as well as actually loving the act of doing nothing. Have you ever stared at a wide expanse of stratus clouds so long that it begins to look like the ocean? Or spent time seeing pictures in clouds? I love getting "lost" like that and forgetting about everything else. Your thought-provoking words happen to be very timely to me and I'm going to make a renewed effort to strike a balance in my life between dealing with some serious issues and maintaining my own health and happiness.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great advice Bill. You know, I do remember as a kid just lying in the grass looking at the clouds going by. Funny how I could remember something so simple yet I've probably forgotten most other things from my youth. Anyway, I think you have a great recipe here that is based on BALANCE. One more thing. I totally agree with you on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising, I want to keep my mind and body as active and healthy as possible so I can enjoy this life for as long as possible.

      Many thanks my friend for all of your worldly tips and advice. I'm sure I have already wished you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year but we can all use as many well wishes as we can garner.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      A very good hub! I've been practicing yoga for the past two years and the benefits are amazing! I listen to soundscapes relax music on TV or soothing sound of ocean waves or rainfall on CD. At the beginning of this year, I was watching an infomercial on the benefits of juicing one night and after listening to other people's testimonials, I decided to purchase the nutribullet. The benefits have been wonderful. My abs are super toned without even working them out all that much, I don't make resolutions either. I try to focus on achieving short-term realistic possible goals and do my best to follow-through with them.

    • wendi_w profile image

      wendi_w 4 years ago from Midwest

      Fabulous hub, as usual Billy. I too struggle with many of the same issues and also do not do resolutions. Love your approach though. Have a great new year and good luck.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      The reality that life is a short journey..and sometimes after experiencing a bad day I realize I will never get it back. I am always grateful I stayed home with my kids and didn't work outside the house..I love the idea about doing nothing...we all need to do more of that. I love doing my little things around the house and stuff I enjoy. And family time is important as you cannot ungrow people..New word. Thanks for this very thoughtful hub about life...It deserves to be read more than once. Voting up and Sharing...

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      I don’t believe in resolutions because I cannot keep up with my resolutions.

      Thanks for inspiring me with your wonderful work in 2012. Looking forward to learn more from you in the future.

      Merry Christmas and very New Year

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ktrapp, especially if you are dealing with serious issues....the mind and body can only handle so much stress and worry....but you know that, don't you? You don't need me to tell you that. :) Merry Christmas my friend, and thank you for being here once again. I hope you find that balance.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, your last sentence was very true. We can all use as many as possible. Tough times my friend, but I'm still hopeful. Thank you for everything. I have enjoyed getting to know you this year, and I look forward to many more as your friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, I love yoga, and it sets the tone for each of my days. I've been doing it about nine months now and I can tell a huge difference. As for your abs....you have now given me something to think about the rest of the morning. LOL

      Thank you young lady; it has been a joy getting to know you this year; thank you for everything.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wendi, thank you so much, and Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you. I'm not a big believer in luck, but I am a believe in preparation and changing my life for the better. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, thank you so much, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      My New Year's Resolutions have been very simple for the past few years. I decided a few years ago that the common resolutions usually fail. My New Year's Resolution is just to be a better person this year than I was last year. This can encompass many things. I do love the "simple life" and encourage my children to enjoy the little things and appreciate every day. Your hubs are always so inspirational! Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year, my friend! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I love that you stayed home with your kids.....that is huge for a child, as you well know. As for doing nothing...hanging out at the marina has to be a wonderfully relaxing exercise. :) Thank you as always, Carol, and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      SG, what a great resolution...to be a better person! How great is that?

      Thank you my friend; Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Bill, my buddy, your goals are so like my own but, I am not surprised. Isn't it wonderful to be at a place in your life where your priorities are in the right place? I am so happy to be older and wiser and keeping such great company on the journey. Hugs to you! I'll see ya on the road.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      Thank you for admitting you are a workaholic... I am also so driven and need to hone in on the art of doing nothing. Thus far, I use my 'nothing time' to internally plan and get centered.

      Wonderful read, I agree it is a blessing to have your priorities in order. Happy 2013 to you and Bev!

      Hugs, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, it's been one hell of a road to get to this place, but I wouldn't trade where I am now for anything. Peace at last....ain't it great?

      love to you Kindred!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, my only saving grace is that I'm a workaholic doing something that I am passionate about and that matters....but I still need to put it in neutral from time to time. :)

      Thank you my dear friend! Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year to you and yours.

      love,

      bill

    • RobinGrosswirth23 profile image

      Robin Grosswirth 4 years ago from New York

      Striking a balance is so very important. We live in a fast paced world and one that is expensive as well. So many people, me included, have been caught up in that crazy treadmill. That you have been able to sustain a healthful way of life by simple means is great. However, your work ethic is still there transcending the writing forum (We thank you for that though.). Peace, happiness and health as you shepherd in the new year.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, I too remember family time with my mom and dad and brothers every night. And of course your resolution to improve the environment makes you golden in my book! Living simple is such a great idea; anyone can resolve to make adjustments here and there to work toward that goal. As always you write with such an open heart. Now I am thinking about my priorities for the new year. So I thank you very much for the nudge in the right direction! Voted Up, Useful and Awesome my friend. Pearl

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Very well done, and doable for all of us! Thanks for bringing up things that we might forget are possible.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Robin! I may never lose the work ethic, but I can live with that. :) I hope you are well and happy. Happy New Year to you and oh yes, Merry Christmas!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pearl! This is one case where being stuck in the past is a good thing! Merry Christmas to you, and Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Deb! Thank you for always being here.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      These all sound awesome and doable to me!! Great list of goals...and I intend to steal them.....just as you have presented them. Not into the silly "resolutions" either...you're so right, they have a bad rep....because they've earned it.

      Getting my psyche and my spirit all rested up and in shape to start anew...fresh..re-energized for the New year......Go team!!....Thanks bil. You're really making things easier for me.....you're like a damned life coach!........UP+++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not just a life coach, but a damn life coach! You crack me up, Paula, in a good way of course. Steal all you want my friend, I have a lot of faults, but I always share with friends. :)

      Have a great weekend!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Though we all need to work it hasn't to be all work and no play provided we live a simple life. Reducing our wants to needs will go a long way to achieve this end.

      I love these simple priorities which shouldn't take much out of us if we make a effort.

      Have a great weekend my friend.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Excellent hub Bill. You describe the necessity for, and benefits of, a balanced life very well. We must all work on finding that place. :)

      Going to go sit in a chair with my cats now and do absolutely nothing for awhile. :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Sent you an article I wrote for the masons. (o.k. to erase)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill - Some great outlooks and goals for the new year! I've got to get back on track and re-enter the workforce. I recognize that I'll be giving up time to do some of the other interests I developed, but I'm simply not comfortable with my current state. One of these days, the Type A personality may ebb, but for now, it's pushing me to move forward. Great hub, my friend! May you and Bev and the rest of your family have the best Christmas ever!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I like you view of how to spend the new year. I don't do resolutions either. I try to live each day to the fullest and I do make plans. I found making resolutions just makes me feel guilty if I don't follow through with them, and I know how I want to spend my time. Family comes first for me. Excellent hub.

      Merry Christmas!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Hi Bill! I don´t do new years resolutions for it will just give me pressure to accomplish and I know I will not follow it anyway. Spending time with our family is very precious. Staying at home doing nothing while relaxing is good to keep us our health balance in life. Thanks for sharing your simple priorities for this coming New Year 2013. Have a great Christmas celebration with your family. Merry Christmas!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, thank you as always! I agree my friend; these take very little effort, but they do take a bit of commitment to change one's life.

      Blessings to you and yours.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Theresa! I hope you enjoyed your time with the cats....hopefully a nice cup of tea while you did nothing. :) Merry Christmas to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I got it, Martin! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, I understand completely. Money is a bit of an issue for us right now, and I'm going to have to change some priorities....although I love writing, I need to see more money coming in. I'm tired of scrimping and saving each month. :) Merry Christmas to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pamela, i will always respect anyone who says that family comes first. :) That's a person who has priorities perfectly aligned.

      Thank you my friend and Merry Christmas.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thelma, I like you attitude regarding resolution. That's a healthy outlook for sure, and spending time with family should always be the #1 goal. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      The earlier days when you and I were born there were not so many distractions and gadgets. The times were automatically more simple and that was a good thing. People not only lived together, but ate, worked, prayed and talked to one another.

      Sometimes when my hubby and I are out at a restaurant I notice people at another table. Instead of visiting with one another they are all looking at their smart phones surfing the net or texting or talking on the phones. It is crazy! I'll just bet that none of them ever lie on the grass looking up at clouds such as we did.

      Merry Christmas and may all the days of your life be relaxed and happy. You are a great teacher regarding the REALLY IMPORTANT things in life. Many up votes and happily sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, I have seen the same thing at restaurants and I find it amazing. I am fairly certain that they don't watch clouds drift by. LOL Thank you for your kind words my friend. merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, and thank you for your friendship this past year.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      If i could figure out how to comment and answer all of my Hubpages mail, i would be a happy camper. I used to ride my bike and do the treadmill 30 minutes everyday. I need to take a break. I keep saying that. Great article Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are not alone. I need to find balance, and that's what I'll be working on this New Year. Thank you my friend and may you have a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thoughtful observations that I'm sure nearly everyone of us can relate to. Life can be so complex today, we need to stop or at least slow down and really connect with our families. Someone commented that the time here is so short, but we never really realize that until so much of it has passed and there's not time for all the things you would do "tomorrow." Voted up.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well explained Hub and with great observations, make the most of life while we can in every way.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, I agree, time is short. I have lost loved ones suddenly, and it is a rude awakening and a great reminder that maybe we should stop and smell the proverbial roses.

      Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE! Merry Christmas to you in Croatia!

    • grumpiornot profile image

      grumpiornot 4 years ago from South Africa

      Superb hub and goals to live by. We could all have more happiness if we cut out the worry about extraneous things we can do nothing about or which have no effect on us.

      A simple life leaves only a positive footprint on earth...

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Billy, I have been thinking and trying on similar lines. After giving up my corporate job, which really took my life and my family away, now, I can sit back or run around, as I want, and be close to my aged parents or my extended family or play with the neighborhood kids! I am noticing many young people retiring from the rat race and opting for simple living- trying to do things more harmonious with their inner self, probably. I always like to read your thoughts because it kind of always teaches secular and humane sanctity and encourages onwards. Sharing..

    • brewskitimeguy profile image

      brewskitimeguy 4 years ago from Maine

      Words to live by and practice...great hub

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Grumpiornot, thank you for the visit. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sen. sush23, thank you so much, and it heartens me to hear that you are living this simple life. It is the only way to find true happiness, or so I believe.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      brewski, thank you and Merry Christmas!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... like having a great Bucket List my friend... if we are to do it we are to do it right and this touches on many great lessons in life we all could do well in adhering too... well done

      Hugs from Canada

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rolly! Now let's see if I can follow it. :)

      I hope winter is being kind to you!

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Sounds good to me, Bill! I'll have to admit, I occasionally reward myself with 'lazy' days where I do nothing, but my mind seems to be separate from my body; there's always something rolling around in there!

      I plan on making a few changes in the coming year myself. You know what a couple of them are. I'm also hoping this is the year my business takes off running!

      Happy New Year my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha, and Happy New Year to you as well. You are appreciated and loved by little old me.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Billy

      I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, I probably would never have listened to you when I was young. Now that I have experienced so many things, the important aspects in life are very clear to me.

      One way I enjoy remembering my Dad and Brother while helping the environment - Mom, Bonnie (my sister) and I plant a tree on our property. Dad started the tradition when his first child was born. Seems only appropriate we continue.

      As far as helping others - you never know when you will need the same helping hand. When we had the attempted break in over the summer, I was very happy to know those same neighbors we had previously helped were in close proximity. Also - you already know how I feel about the important of family.; Sit down to a dinner each night - on chairs - with the family facing each other - with every tv and radio turned off!

      Another fine write. XO

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, that was almost subdued after your last comment. LOL I agree completely of course; it seems to be so easy for people to get wrapped up in the business of living and owning and possessing....and they forget about that which truly makes them happy.

      you make me happy...thank you!

      billy

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a very ambitious list, but if anyone can do it, it is you! I hope to incorporate many of these ideas this year, especially being creative with real ideas that can make a difference in the world. Excellent!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, I have never dreamed small....LOL...maybe I should learn to!

      Thank you my dear; what have you been up to? I don't think you have written in awhile, unless I missed it. Hope you are well!

      bill

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