Back in 2013, Hillary Chybinski (my longtime friend from way before blogging) introduced me to the concept of choosing one little word at the beginning of the year. The idea was that this special, personal word would serve as a touchstone during the next 12 months.
I loved this idea and chose FORWARD as my word for 2013. It certainly was appropriate during a year that saw us trying to move forward in the aftermath of The Husband’s thyroid cancer diagnosis, surgery, and treatments (he’s in the clear now, thankfully) and my long-term unemployment (which would last 15 months before I landed what turned out to be a great job).
A few weeks ago I started seeing blog posts about choosing one word for 2016. Several bloggers have embraced this concept. Earlier this week, I read my friend Bryan‘s post about how he is using the work of Susannah Conway in connection with his chosen word. I immediately signed up for Susannah’s free five-day email course (and Facebook group) to contemplate this further.
Throughout the past few weeks and even before working on Susannah’s “one word” exercises, I kept gravitating to one word.
I spent some time looking for the perfect quote to capture the meaning I was striving for with this choice. Some quotes came close, but didn’t quite get at what I wanted.
Little did I know that the perfect quote was with me all along.
You see, I thought I had selected words for 2014 and 2015, but a search of this blog’s archives seems to suggest otherwise. What it did reveal was why I chose forward.
“For whatever reason, the words of my childhood pastor immediately came to mind. I’ve written before about what an influential person he was (and still is) in my life. Maybe it has to do with having just gone home for the holidays …. Whatever the reason, Dr. Ernst G. Schmidt‘s Opportunity Seeker’s Creed came right back.
“Life is for living!
If it gets comfortable, I will not coast.
If it becomes empty or dark, I will strike a new match of opportunity
And with God’s help, move forward in its light ….”
Life has not been comfortable of late. There has been a lot of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. I think that’s true for many of us, isn’t it?”
Just as in 2013, our family begins this year with much uncertainty. There are plenty of factors making the months ahead very scary and dark. Let’s take the obvious and the most looming: as of this month, our income is much lighter than it has been for … well, since the very earliest days of our marriage. (We’ve been married for almost 23 years.) I’m not kidding. I’m talking reduced to one-third of what it once was, very recently.
Not reduced by a third.
Reduced to one third.
We are your typical disappearing middle class family. No one has ever confused us with the Rockefellers but we were finally, finally getting to the point where things were … easier. Lighter. To say that this new normal is scary as hell is somewhat of an understatement. Starting over sounds dreamy, but it can be the stuff of nightmares. Literally.
Which makes it very easy to embrace that fear and darkness, give into it, and let it consume us.
But I think the better choice — even when it is the harder one — is to focus on the light. Let it in. Move forward in its warmth and all that it represents, even when we’re uncertain about the path ahead.
I hope to try and do this in several ways this year …
… taking a simple, light approach to our possessions (what do we really need?)
… enlighten my approach to cooking, especially dinners (meal-planning and making more things ahead will make this task lighter)
… engaging in activities and with people that help to lighten my spirit
… being a light to others (how can I help to brighten someone’s day or lighten their struggle?)
… embracing the dawn of each day instead of dreading the night.
I’ll write about the journey here.
It’s a new year … imagine the possibilities that 2016 will hold. What one word captures your hopes, dreams, ambitions, and perspective for 2016?