I’m not sure who started the trend of picking a word for each year (Brené Brown? Susannah Conway?) but I’ve been doing it for the past three years although I’ve never shared my word with anyone. Before now.
At first I was kind of worried about picking a word because I thought it was just going to be another new year’s resolution that would gradually fade by the wayside leaving me feeling inadequate (again) at the end of the year.
But that’s not what has happened. The word never played out throughout the year like I thought it would. It took on nuances, different meanings and showed up in the most unlikely places. Which I guess might kind of be the point.
Last year my word was Light.
It was the light in the darkness of depression and loneliness.
It was the light that flickered but somehow didn’t go out, even when my heart had caved in and I couldn’t breathe.
It was the light of faith that helped me to keep going trusting that it would get better.
It was the light of learning that left me not regretting the past but grateful for the lessons learned.
It was the light that needed me to learn how to set the boundaries that would allow it the space and oxygen to stay lit. And maybe to shine brighter.
It was the light that taught me that I am merely the light-bearer, not the light itself.
It was the light of the torch flame that melted glass and created beauty.
It was the light that played in hundreds of photos and changed the way I look at the world.
And it was the light of the fire in me that led me to this blog, to the need write and to the risk of letting myself be seen.
Yup, it was not what I expected. Which makes picking a word for this year both exciting and scary. Because the word that I have picked – or rather which has picked me – is Joy.
I have certainly been happy over the past year but I have not felt that pure joy that makes me feel 100% alive. The joy I feel when I’m running.
Not the first part of the run when I want to stop and cough up a lung and head for the coffee shop. But, that sweet spot where I feel like I can run forever. Or dance or maybe even fly.
The joy of singing. When the breath and sound and tones vibrate through me in a way that makes me feel like my heart has learned to speak.
The joy of waking up early in the morning because I’m so excited about what the day will bring.
The joy of seeing a loved ones name on call-display or in my inbox and feeling that surge of excitement that I get to hear their voice and their stories.
The joy of being in the trees or near the ocean and finding myself in the slowness of geologic time, rather than the pressure of human time.
And the joy of a spiritual connection which fills me so full of this life that I don’t want to waste one single moment of it on the things that just won’t matter at the end of it.
As far as new year’s goals go, my little word seems kind of BHA – big, hairy and audacious.
But since I’ve shared it, I might as well get started on it. Because if it’s anything like last year, or the year before, all I have to do is take that first step and the rest of the journey will unfold as it will. With all it’s unexpected turns.
Guess it’s time to lace up my running shoes.