2017 was a crazy year. More than any other, this year my social media feeds, email inbox, and holiday greetings are full of people talking about how this was the hardest year ever or the worst of their life. Kyle and I had our fair share of that as well, dealing with death and fear, shame and guilt. On more than one occasion, we found ourselves afraid of what the world might become, and the part we were playing in it all. As in any journey, even the darker ones, there were light areas too, and many of the bad situations helped us grow and change in ways that will make us stronger going forward. Life is always a game of ebb and flow, and in the end, for us at least, the good outweighed the bad. But it feels like there are a lot of wounded warriors entering 2018, and I’m sending you hope and determination, wishes that this year will be replenishing, and a year that builds you up and helps create resilience and peace.
In the last two weeks of every one of the past 20+ years, I have spent hours and days sitting with myself, with my past and my hopes for my future. During that time, I pick a word or three to help define and guide my year ahead. Sometimes, one word stands out above all others, and other years it ends up being a phrase or even 2 or 3 words. This year, I’ve selected three words to guide and focus my journey as I head towards where I want to be, and who I want to be, at the end of 2018. I share them with you here, in the hopes that you might find them useful, or a springboard to your own words and phrases.
I’m going to take the time to exhale and be in the moment. This year was full of moments where I found myself holding my breath, waiting for something bad to pass, or for motion (or emotion) to start or end. Changing the way you breathe can help you feel more relaxed, energized, or focused. I don’t want to spend any more time holding my breath or delaying the next moment. This year, exhale will be a reminder to breathe through any situation life brings to me, and help me experience that moment and move through it.
To accept willingly & gladly, to hug, to include. Embrace can mean so many different things, from exploring & accepting new opportunities and ideas, to holding on dearly to those we care deeply for – and to letting them know that is the case. At times, I am great at embracing people and places and ideas, at bringing them into our circle and our life, and letting those I love know how much they mean to me. But 2017 was a year where I did less embracing and a bit more solitary fortifying, and to be honest, I think it was to my detriment. Embrace is my reminder to go out there and experience the world (even the hard or negative parts), seize new and different opportunities, and share it all with those I love.
This one is a funny one, because most people think that exuberance is something I have in spades all the time. But 2017 left a few scars (as did the few previous years), and that has meant that sometimes I find myself losing touch with my exuberance – with my ability to live with energy and excitement, to revel in my love of people and new ideas and new experiences, and with the beauty found in daily life. Exuberance finds a way to mark the moments in life through traditions, through celebration, and through emotion. Once more with exuberance is a reminder to rekindle that spark, to seek out the joy and the beauty, to live with excitement, & grow abundantly.
2017 is over, and while we don’t necessarily get a clean slate and a fresh start, maybe what we do get is a chance for redirection, for new opportunities, and new ways to look at and react to those things we cannot control. Sending each of you wishes for peace, for contentment, for joy, and for hope. Lift up each other, and let me know what I can do to help lift you up. Let’s do this thing called life!