I’m not a fan of new years resolutions. I think they’re stupid. An empty attempt to momentarily feel good, providing for some sort of delusional, transient hope, for a significant change in our habitual disposition, which we know will parish before one can say Sasquatch-banana-cakes-are-us.
However, if there were one thing that I think could be implemented as a new years resolution, it would be this:
To smile at people more often.
And here’s why …
Just this morning, as I was walking to my office – a café down the street – I passed by two people.
Now, it’s a windy day, so my mind was occupied pretty much only with the surrounding trees, bushes, and leaves fluttering on the tarmac; I mean, they’re beautiful, and come to life when mother nature’s invisible hand caresses their form. However, when I pass someone by, I always make it my aim to rip my focus away from the awe inspiring play happening all around me, whatever it is, so to glance into that person’s eyes as our shoulder’s brush, to shoot them a smile, if it so happens that they have actually noticed my own passing existence.
The first person I passed by, I perceived to be, with my shitty vision, from a distance, an older man with perfectly combed dark grey hair, clad in a sports singlet and running shorts. As we neared, and as I almost reluctantly brought my eyes away from the silhouette of the splendiferously looming tree, dancing to the left of my lens, I realised that this man’s gaze was set straight ahead, much like that of some focused one running a marathon. Now, I didn’t mean to mislead anyone when describing this man’s attire; he was not running, nor did it look like he had been, despite his athletic dress. Anyway, needless to say, our eyes did not meet, and frankly, I’m not too sure that he even realised that a human occupied the same street as he; I felt like a trespassing stranger, more invisible than the wind.
As I kept walking down my tree-lined lane, I heard the motor of a garage-door buzzing violently on the other side of the road. There, an older woman (old by my standards), perhaps in her forties or fifties – sorry, super-dooper young forty year-olds – wearing a hooded sweater, perfectly combed, blonde hair and a pretty face, made a dash from underneath the garage’s door, and across to the side of the street I occupied, I think, in pursuit of her BMW that was parked by my side.
As she neared the street’s gutter, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that she had slowed down her stride, wanting, as it seemed to me, to avoid colliding. Looking up at her, our eyes met, and, believe it or not, she was the one to first smile at me. I know, I was shocked, too. And so, I returned the smile, kept tooting on in my own direction, as she jumped into her car, and went on in her own.
I know that it’s a tiny thing to smile at someone. I understand why we sometimes avoid it so desperately, and I’m not so blissfully ignorant to not perceive of the potential reasons we actively avoid eye contact totally; reasons that I do not care to unfold here.
But regardless of those reasons: what is the cost of keeping to ourselves?
The answer: A lonely, isolated world.
I’m not going to say that my entire world changed because of this woman’s kind eyes, cause it wasn’t. However, I will say that it did feel nice to be noticed by someone, a stranger, a humanoid you will never again, probably, cross paths with.
Ultimately, though smiling at people can sometimes be a daunting mission – trust me, I know; I personally couldn’t make eye contact with people at all, generally, until I was 10, due to my hyper sensitive genetic disposition – and though sometimes you’ll be met only with a frown, a snarl, or at worst, a nasty comment – give it a shot anyway.
Who knows, you might, quite literally, just save someone’s life because of it.
It’s a rather lonely society we live in, and hell, if all it takes is a smile to turn someone’s world upside down, for the better, hover remotely, then that’s a new year’s resolution I would happily stick by.
NOTE: this is not my own new years resolution. As I said, I think they’re stupid. I’m already that weirdo who smiles at strangers, nothing to change here, no sir, not at all.
Humans-are-emotional-creatures. And smiling at someone will, usually, bring about some “positive” little emotions.