So I’ve never declared a “word of the year” before. I’ve also never been forty-six and felt so blah about so many things in my life. Don’t get me wrong – there are an abundance of things in my corner of the world that are fantastic. MORE THAN FANTASTIC. However, I feel like there are more things that I opened my eyes to – in my little world and the greater world at large – that I need to make room for. And there is a not that I need to let go of. Which is why my word of the year is . . .
Shift seems to be the sum total of every goal and intention I have for 2017. To define, shift means “a slight change in position, direction or tendency”
1. I’d like to shift my health back to a place of caring. For me, that means being more intentional with the foods I eat (and bring in to my home), and finding a way to incorporate some sort of exercise that I find enjoyment from in to my life.
2. I’d like to shift my perception of those around me and what I feel their judgment of me will be if I am my authentic self. This is a hard one. As I mentioned in my birthday post, I’ve really wanted another tattoo and to color my hair something fun for a while now, but was too afraid to do it because of what I thought others would think of me. I have to shift that mindset in my own head, and realize that it IS my life. I do get to choose who I want to be. And if I’d like a tattoo on my wrist to remember my dad then I get to do that. The end.
3. I’d like to make a shift in the way we look at our home and possessions. G and I have been reading and hearing more and more about minimalism, living in spaces that are the right size for you, being intentional with the things that you bring in to your home, and to stop collecting “stuff” just to have it. I own right here and now that I have hoarder-like tendencies. I was raised with the “just in case we might ever need it” mentality and there are a LOT of things in my home that fall in to that category. During the downsize almost three years ago, we purged about a third of things that we didn’t need. But there is still a lot here – and we have added to it – that we just don’t use or need. While I’d like to not donate EVERYTHING, it would be nice to make a little money from the things with value. Tag sales are not allowed in our area. And I’m not sure about the hassle of Craig’s List or the like. But I know it is a shift that I want to make happen.
4. I’d like to make a shift in my self-care. Currently, it involves a lot of sitting on the couch, watching bad reality television (well, some of it is good) and eating. I miss reading books. I miss sewing. I miss being creative. I miss my friends. I need to find time to do the things that feed my soul as opposed to turn my brain to mush. Last Thursday, I had three friends over that I had not seen in a really long time. The four of us had not been together in two and a half years. And we all live in the Chicagoland area. I need these people in my life, and I need to do a better job on my end making time.
5. I need to shift the way I look at parenting. I will say that most of the time, I’m a decent mom. But I’m getting lazy the older they get because I am tired so much (see number 1 and 4). I think if I take steps to shift the way I feel, physically as a person, then my parenting value will only increase. I love my daughters so much, and I spend a lot of time with them. But it isn’t quality time. There are life lessons that I’m dropping the ball on teaching them. (I just figured out that my 11 year-old didn’t know how to work a vacuum!) There are relationship building things that I need to do more to lay the foundation for, because mother-daughter relationships generally suck and I may only have a few more years with them before they start turning on me. I need to step it up. I can do more. Do better.
6. I need to make a shift with our home finances. I implemented Dave Ramsey-esque money management systems this year and it worked great – when I worked it. Unfortunately, when I am stressed or unhappy, my go to’s are eating and shopping. I’d like to be farther along in my savings and debt pay-down plans that I am. Ideally, the only debt I would like to have are the car payment and our mortgage, both of which I pay more principal every month to get ahead. The one pesky credit card I have is a weakness, and I’d like to get rid of it for good. If I can implement #3, then this will help tremendously.
7. I want to continue to let the shift within me blossom. This last year taught me a lot. Opened my eyes to things in this world that I didn’t realize were happening, didn’t understand the causes, hadn’t thought to dig in to because it didn’t impact my day-to-day life. I can’t be the person that lives blindly in the world anymore. I’ve learned too much this year. The biggest thing? I still don’t know a damn thing about what people who don’t look like me go through every day. I’m terrified at the thought of what the next four years will bring. I don’t have to scream what I believe from the rooftops to get those around me to listen. I do, however, have an obligation to speak up when I see wrong. To call out those things that are unjust, biased, racist, bigoted, homophobic and just plain factually and morally wrong. My voice means something. It’s okay for me to have conversations about race and how it makes me feel; a white woman who is terrified of saying the wrong thing and doing the wrong thing but wanting to help share my outrage and anger and frustration over what is happening and be a part of the solution. I want to be part of the solution, more than signing a petition on Facebook and making a donation to a GoFundMe page. My words, my actions, the places I volunteer, and the ways I use my social media influence will all reflect the continued shift inside of me.
So there you have it. Go out and find your work for 2017 and let it be the force that guides you through the year. And I leave you with these beautiful words from one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed: