(I’m finally getting my New Year post up. Yes, it is two weeks late, but if you noticed the title of the blog, this is a safe space from deadlines and schedules.)
I’m not much of a resolution person. Really, you can resolve to do something any one of the 365 days of the year. For some reason January 1 Resolutions seem to get all the press and when the resolve is gone after a few weeks, the failure feels a lot like shame. I do understand the allure of a resolution. Beginnings seem to demand a title page, don’t they? I think that’s why I decided instead on a word of the year. It’s more of a theme that centers and defines the truth you are living out (or wish to live out) in the coming season. It’s the underlined title at the top of the page that you can build the outline of life around wherever the content of the year takes you.
My word for 2019 was Adventure.
It was an easy word to land on because I started 2019 on a plane to London with Stephen for a 10 day trip across Europe. I also knew we had another family trip to Europe planned for later that year. Adventure was more than just those trips, though. I wanted a year where I adventured… a year when I tried new things. Like starting a blog. Or where as a family, we embraced the spontaneity that had defined us when the kids were younger- when we woke up on a Saturday or Sunday and said, Let’s go do THIS today. Adventure served me well last year because the intentionality of the word lead me to my word for 2020.
Mindfulness is a state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts. I have been terrible at mindfulness my entire life. My coping skill has been to live outside the present and focus on the next good or fun thing on the calendar. Anticipation is great, but living in the future as a panacea for the struggles of the present is not a very whole approach to life.
As we were living out adventure this year, I became aware of enjoying all of the moments. We only have a short time left with all four of us in the house together and I want to live fully aware in that time. I actually thought my word of the year would be savor, but savor seemed too focused on just the good times. I don’t necessarily savor an argument with my fourteen year old over the state of her bedroom but I can be mindful in that tension. I can remind myself to remember what really matters in that moment and maybe dirty clothes and empty cups are not the thing.
There was a time back in the fall when we were all riding bikes and I watched Stephen and Lindsey racing to be first. Paul looked back at me and we laughed at them and it hit me, These are the good old days. The four of us together. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful of the last 16 years. I want to live wholly present in these next two years. I want to experience and feel and ponder all of it as I’m living it, not just looking forward to the next Big Thing. Today is a Big Thing too.
I have lived in that survive-￼for-today-anticipate-the-future mode for so long. I say that without any shame or guilt. It was all I knew to do, and on some level it worked because it helped me to arrive in the place I am now. But like Maya Angelou famously said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
I know better now.
I am mindful.