Interpretations of "nekkid" are varied when you look at HNT participants around the globe. In many cases, the "nekkid" refers to "naked" and translates into sexy and risque photos. I've dabbed into that occasionally over the years on Thursdays. Others simply chose a fitting photograph of themselves taken for the occasion - their new hair style, new nail polish, a picture of them in a unique setting, etc. And others often "exposure" something about their inner selves. In that way, it's a wonderfully open creative pursuit, allowing interpretations far and wide. And it all started with a single blogger known as Osbasso, a musician from Montana.
HNT has introduced me to some pretty awesome people from all over the world, and even some folks I now know in my own city. It has been a way for social media to bring people together through a common fun theme. Because part of the ritual of HNT had been to go visit other HNTer's sites and leave comments. When I first started I would often browse sites for hours, trying to visit as many people as I could and leave a comment. Over the years I'll admit to not doing that so much -- there's only so much time in the day, and sometimes those 4 to 5 hours of precious sleep are more important to this middle-aged guy.
Osbasso, the central blogger in HNT, delights in watching HNTers around the world interpret the Thursday ritual their own way. But on certain occasions, he suggests themes. The annual Three Wishes HNT post has been a way Osbasso has helped encourage HNT participants to get to know each other. The suggestion is to find 3 HNTers that you don't know, read their blog, learn a bit about them and suggest a gift you'd give to them, if you had the actual means to do so. It has been a great community building excise, and something I've done for several years now: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.
Looking back, I've broken the rules pretty much every year. Let this year be no exception.
This year, my three wishes are for readers of this blog. May you, dear reader, have these three things in 2011 if you don't already have them. These are three things that I have and which I cherish from the bottom of my heart. If I could pass these three things on to everyone, I would, because these three things are critically important to me, and something I would share with the whole world if it was within my means.
Someone Who Loves You
May you be blessed with someone who loves you, truly, simply and without any doubt. I am fortunate to be loved and to feel loved each and every day. Obviously by my beautiful wife and son, but it goes beyond that, because I'm not just talking about the deep and committed love of relationships that close, but a more general love, a feeling of camaraderie and friendship -- a "love thy neighbour" sort of love. Our pets are often the purest example of this type of unabashed and unalterting and committed love. When you return home, the simple lick, nudge, chirp or whatever your pet offers by way of greeting you is a typical sign of that love.
Not a day goes by that I don't try to pause and reflect on what it means to be loved and feel loved, by my dearest family and friends, but also by the multitude of colleagues I interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly and sometimes less often basis. But knowing that love, that collegial respect is there, helps lift my days. So may YOU have that, and if you don't, may you find that in the coming year so you can embrace it.
Someone To Love
This year for Christmas, my son is learning first-hand that the giving, the loving, the caring, can be more fun, exciting, and fulfilling than the receiving. Having someone to love is, in itself, rewarding. And, again, I am blessed to be able to love and embrace my wife and son and dear family members, attempting to not let a day pass without ensuring they know that love, a love which doesn't just fill my heart, but regularly overflows in it's endless supply, exists.
And there's the beauty of giving love. You never run out. And again, I'm not talking about a passionate and soap opera type romance, here (although I'm not poo-pooing that). I'm just saying it's not the "be all and end all" when it comes to someone to love. In a similar way as mentioned above, there are likely people you encounter daily, weekly, etc. May you find ways, even if they are simple, subtle ones, to let them know you appreciate and love them. No, the mailman whom you recognize and have seen regularly for years, but whose name you might not know isn't going to react too well if you stop and tell him how much you love him (especially when he brings fun things that aren't bills), but perhaps you'll find ways to let that love, that appreciation be known.
John Lennon evoked the simple concept of that type of love in his song "Imagine" -- though he doesn't so much as use the word love. But what he's talking about is simple. The world is made a better place the more that each of us is able to pause and demonstrate that "brotherhood of man" -- gender terms aside (because we all know what he really meant), the concept is simple -- we're all on this planet together. Every single small thing you can do in your day to day life can be a demonstration of love and respect. Those little things can make the world a better place -- may you find simple and easy ways to embrace that whenever and wherever you can.
A Vocation To Love
I was going to say "job" here, but it goes well beyond that. Yes, I am blessed to have a job that I love; but I'm also blessed to write, a pastime I do in my "non-working" hours which I sometimes earn income for, but which is more of a "calling" for me. Some folks aren't as blessed as me to have jobs they love, and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune by toiling in a job they despise.
So for those who are unable to break free of that, may they at least find a hobby, a calling, a volunteer effort, a thing to do in their spare time that they are truly passionate about, because that activity is likely to be what helps fulfill them in as powerful a way as loving and being loved.
And, of course, there are those who either aren't in the working world for whatever reason. Retired, in school, stay at home Moms, Dads, spouses, folks who are independently wealthy. My wish is that whatever "vocation" you are currently in that goes far beyond a job, may it be something that brings you joy and helps fill your days with a passion.
So there are three simple wishes. Three wishes that I would offer to anyone and everyone, but in particular, right now, directly to YOU, dear reader.
And to illustrate my own incredible fortune in knowing and acknowledging that I have all three, here is a shot from a few years ago of me and Alexander hanging an ornament on our Christmas tree. It should illustrate, quite simply, all three things: That I am loved by my son, that I love my son, and that I love the calling of fatherhood. (And let's not forget our pure joy in loving the task of decorating the Christmas tree, something Francine, Alexander and I love doing together -- a simple task that brings us so much joy)
So, Happy HNT and Merry Christmas to you and may you embrace love in all its glories.