It’s funny how November has somehow morphed into a follow-up January — you know, when dieting, exercise, minimalism and all other things self-improvement guide our every action.
January is the month when Marie Condo reigns.
November is the month where we all seem to feel the itch to do something big, or at least figure out what we did during the previous ten months that lived up to last January’s expectations.
Here are the November Big Three (as if you hadn’t noticed).
30-Day Gratefulness Challenge
Two kinds of people tend to participate in this November challenge group. Some of them are those people who are grateful every single day of their lives. You know who they are because they probably do the challenge in months other than November. Their Facebook threads include sunrises, poetry, scriptures, and inspiration all year. They join the fun in November because for them, it’s fun.
Then there are those of us who are just a tiny bit envious of those people. We’ve read all the blog posts and research about gratefulness and understand the concept and how it relates to happiness and life satisfaction. But two things hold us back from shouting our blessedness from the social media rooftops most of the year. First is that our gratefulness tends to come in spurts and fits, and second, talking about how grateful we are that something worked out almost feels like a jinx.
But then November rolls around, so we dig deep and start sharing our sunrises too.
And guess what? No matter which kind of person you are, sharing a bit of your own good fortune has the power to lift someone up who might need it, so inspire away.
Movember is all about men’s health issues. Their website (movember.com) proclaims their goal is “Tackling prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.”
The idea is to grow a “mo” (mustache) this month. It’s a fun way to support the seriously underserved area of men’s health by raising both money and awareness. There are teams and individuals participating in fundraising events across the country.
And you don’t have to grow a ‘stache to help with the fundraising. You can also participate by raising money for running or walking 60 miles this month.
Whether you grow, go, or give, it’s a worthy cause. As the wife of a testicular cancer survivor, I am grateful for this organization and all those guys sporting new (or improved) fuzz this month. (See what I did there? #30daysgrateful)
And then there are the writers. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. If you know a writer and noticed that they have suddenly disappeared, they may be tackling the seemingly impossible challenge of writing 50,000 coherent words in a month.
It’s a real thing. There’s a non-profit writing group behind it that supports fluency and education. Each year hundreds of thousands of participants write their fingers off in November. Winning is as simple as succeeding at writing the 50,000 words.
There’s no million-dollar prize. No guaranteed publishing contracts. The words are your prize. Really.
Does anyone actually publish these novels? The truth is that the words written in November are usually only the starting point, rough, rough drafts if you will. Unless you are already a seasoned novelist with superior writing speed, what you end up with is not likely to be published as-is. But then, first drafts rarely are. But, yes, drafts begun during the challenge may very well find their way onto your must-read list next year.
Bravo, all my novelist friends who are giving this a go this year. I’ll see you in December (after you’ve had a nice long sleep). I’ll be the one bringing you a stiff drink.
These three November challenges are about as diverse as any three activities could be, yet it seems to me that they have a common ability to remind all of us that time flies faster than a SpaceX rocket.
And that whether we choose to use this next-to-last month of the year to be grateful, grow facial hair, or grind out words, January will be here soon, my friends. Queen KonMari waits for no one.