Lifestyle

THE MAGIC OF A SMILE

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The Chinese new year is a mere two days away. A new year means a new beginning, although as someone has pointed out, the only difference between an old year and a new one is a mere second when the clock is about to strike midnight on the eve as Chinese families around the world celebrate with a reunion dinner. 
A friend remarked this morning in our chat group that it’s quite depressing for seniors to be reminded that we will be one year older, and one step closer to kicking the bucket. My response – focus on our many blessings. We should be grateful we can wake up to greet each new dawn and see each beautiful sunset. As is often said, growing old is a privilege denied to many. This is so true as we all know of friends who have left us way too soon. 

If we look at ourselves in the mirror when we wake up on the first day of the calendar year, the lunar year, and especially on the morning of our birthday each year, if all we can see are sagging skin and greying hair (or depleting hair), it is no wonder we feel depressed. You can bet we will be seeing more of that before the year is out, especially with all the covid-19 gloom and the economy yet to recover fully. 

The secret is to switch our focus, to look beyond, or deep inside that reflection in the mirror. We will see that youthful, playful spirit still dwelling within all of us. Try it. I have, and I can tell you it works!

Begin each day with a SMILE at ourselves in the mirror. Say ‘Hi’ to that person smiling back at us. Not only does smiling make us look younger, it also brightens up our day. No need for botox fillers or cosmetic surgery. Then share that smile with the people we come into contact with during the day. Start with our family, then our neighbours, our colleagues, our clients, the waiter who serves us our lunch, the cashier who gives us our change, the security guard at the gate. And that nice stranger who smiles at us (er, be careful and selective with this last one).

Or would we rather wake up grouchy and whining about our aches and pains, and complaining about how the world owes us our happiness? Do we want to spend the whole day spreading misery to those around us, and looking for people to wallow in self-pity with? What an utter waste of precious time! No wonder we are poor company for our friends and grandchildren!

Pic taken in Sept 2021 to show-off my ‘pigtails’. 
I recall a training session many years ago on how to answer a phone call. We may not be able to see that person on the phone, but if we put a smile on our face, and speak with sincerity, even cold calls can get us positive results. This used to be part of the training for switchboard operators and front desk receptionists. 

Yes, smiles are infectious. So let’s spread smiles. I have yet to experience not getting a return smile when I smile first at someone. It’s really up to us, isn’t it, how we want to live each day, each year. Let’s not smile only for the camera. The least we can do is put a smile in our hearts. Let us put this into practice as we welcome another new year. Gong Xi Fa Cai, Kong Hee Fatt Chai, Kong Hei Fatt Choy. That’s Happy New Year in Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese for our non-Chinese friends. 

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