NaBloPoMo: open mind, bigger world

*Photo by Just B Photo*

One of the prompts for November asked what was it like to be me in 2016. Well, to be me in 2016 was to see the world as I’ve never seen it before.

We left our Hawaii ohana behind, flew to LA and spent the next several weeks driving  across the country. We put our footprints in more than a dozen cities and towns, stopped at historical markers and world wonders, and conversed with people we otherwise never would’ve met. It was beautiful.

We created home in destination Southern Maryland, where big military meets small town charm. We went from knowing absolutely no one to growing the mix of outsiders who comprise our ever-expanding family.

And most impactful of all, I had a baby boy. A baby whose innocent view on this world has re-set my perspective on most everything in life.

This year was packed with life-changing events that have one commonality: going outside of my bubble.

While 2017 will be much more stationary, I will carry this concept forward. It’s dangerously easy to get in the habit of walking through life from only one set of lenses – our own. If there’s one thing I want to teach my son, it’s how to be open-minded. I firmly believe that this is one of the best traits a person can have in order to reach success of any kind. This starts with the ability to teach yourself how to see the world beyond your world.

While it doesn’t necessarily require travel, child-rearing or starting over in an unfamiliar town, those things certainly served as a reminder to me. But it can be practiced by anyone, no matter how stagnant things may be. It simply requires the emotional intelligence to truly listen to others, to seek information beyond our own self-interests, and to pursue experiences that push us out of our typical.

Whatever those experiences may look like, it requires intention, thought and practice. The most close-minded thing we can believe is that we are naturally open-minded. We’re not, and we all need to be reminded of this from time to time.

What will you do in 2017 that is bigger than yourself? 

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