The hardest part of sending notes to ten people in my life tell them how fabulous they are was choosing which ten individuals got the notes. The second most difficult part was trying to find words that adequately summed up how much I admire them and why.
When I wrote this goal on the list, I had envisioned something more along the lines of sending pick-you-up notes to ten of my friends that I'm really close to with a laundry list of their special qualities. As I sat down to start writing, the project turned into choosing ten people - each with a fabulous trait - that I am proud to have as a part of my life and wanted to thank in a succinct fashion. The choices I made really taught me what I value in other people and the ideals that I aspire to in myself.
When it comes to having people in my life who are fabulous, I could have easily included every member of my family (but chose only one sibling) and triple the number of friends. I am very fortunate indeed in the people who surround me. However, I'd like to introduce whoever is reading this blog to ten (nine unnamed for their own privacy and because most of the letters are still in the mail) wonderful people in my life in the order that I met them.
First, my brother Tim who has put up with this pesky little sister for a long time, gave her wheelbarrow rides, fixed her cars, does the majority of the physical labor for our aging parents, and quietly fixes mundane problems so smoothly that you forget they even existed in the first place. He is like the air we breathe, we don't realize it's there until it's gone and things go terribly wrong.
Second, a very dear friend of mine from before, during, and after my school days. His life is an tutorial for being a good friend - share everyday pleasures, listen when someone's down, make their path smoother. I don't think we sometimes realize how much we need everyday heroes like him.
Third, a friend from elementary school and junior high that I reconnected with a couple of years ago. While I have many fond memories of her, what really impresses me is how she's become an artist who generously and compassionately shares the work of others.
Fourth, one of my college roommates who among her many fine qualities has a knack for being courageously forthright and sticking to her principles with integrity.
Fifth, an individual who is an uber-friend - she has so many talents and gives to others in numerous ways; I could write a whole post just about the wonderful things that she has done for me. Her special gift, though, is encouraging people to be themselves without guilt -- I can see people blossom when she touches their life.
Sixth, a friend who is like the bubbles in champagne. She's always full of compliments and makes groups lively.
Seventh, a friend who is one of the most courageous individuals that I know. She took stock of her life several years ago, decided what she wanted, and has taken some huge steps (that would probably be outside of the comfort zones of many people) to make those goals a reality.
Eighth, a friend who makes a fabulous partner for adventures. She's intrepid, not bothered by minor annoyances, and always up for a new experience.
Ninth, someone whose faith that there is a purpose behind all things is rock-solid. She finds the silver lining in bad situations and encourages others to ride out the storms of life.
Tenth, a new friend who offers no apologies for her obsessions. Instead, she promotes them as what makes her an individual and has found a way to make one of them contribute to earning her livelihood.