Anticipating the New Year


A Dose of Kindness

Someone has a sense of humor about the approaching New Year.

Her Facebook post reads:

My resolution is to lose 10 pounds.

Only 15 more to go!

We deserve to take ourselves a little less seriously.

I’m a fan of resolutions and goal-setting.

For example, I like that folks express gratitude at Thanksgiving dinner.

Family members sit around the turkey and talk about what they are grateful for.

In addition to forging goals and sharing thanks that come in concert with a New Year, today I’m asking myself what kindness I can recognize that I have done for me.

Holidays are rightly focused on what we offer others, and that’s important.

We should offer ourselves a little kindness, too.

This year I gave myself the gift of a summer class.

I learned how to watercolor.

This wasn’t a resolution or a goal: it was a chance to experience something new, rather than buying something new.

This summer I was able to carve out time each week for 10 weeks, when I put down the phone, the book, the music, the conversation–and spent time just drawing and painting.

Embracing watercoloring—which I hadn’t done since elementary school—freed me from my usual chores that demand time, effort, concentration and completion.

Still: I was concentrating, and devoting as much attention as I could muster to learn how to paint.

And I was freed from the task of working for someone else: I painted only for me.

My daily chores are performed for someone else: I teach classes for others, I conduct research that benefits others, I perform administrative duties for colleagues, and I cook, wash, and clean in the space I share with another soul.

And that’s my choice: I love to teach, assist, comfort, and nourish others.

But I also appreciate taking time to enrich my spirit, so I will approach the New Year mindful of what I will do to bring some kindness to myself in the coming weeks and months.

Wishing you a dose of kindness in 2018.


31 December 2017






About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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4 Responses to Anticipating the New Year

  1. lyndi2014lyndi says:

    your experiment is fabulous! you have artistic talent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Russ L says:

    I want to learn how to watercolor too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s humbling and a lot of fun


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