My Word of the Year for 2020

Do you start your new year off with a word you hope and plan will define that new year?
I’ve been doing that for a few years now, a tradition that started with my brother who was doing it with someone else on a blog. I really don’t think about the word that much during the year, to be honest, but sometimes I will remind myself of the word I chose (or feel was given to me) and redirect my attitude. It’s also interesting to look back at the end of a year and see how the world aligned with what happened that year.

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Last year my word was “contentment.”It took me several months into 2019 to reach the point of contentment in some situations in my life, however. I was not content with the loss of (or changes in) friendships at all last year, or with our traditionally difficult financial situation. But, over time, toward the end of the year, I started to settle in with the idea that friendships I had once thought would be around for a long time to come had faded and that we may never be rich, but somehow we seem to pull through and pay all our bills, even if it requires some sacrifices.

A couple of years ago I chose the words “peace” and “simplicity.” Everything in my world was not peaceful or simple during that year but there were periods of peace and simplicity at least. Decisions were also made with those words at the forefront of my mind, as much as possible anyhow. To keep with the sentiment behind the words I also cut out some people and aspects of my life that created little more than stress.

Another year I chose the word “restoration” because a lot in my life needed to be restored that year. The year I chose reconciliation we seemed to be reconciled with family but by the end of the year that had crumbled and they returned to only contacting us when they wanted something (usually transportation somewhere).

 

This year I am choosing the word “renew” because my life needs new energy – big time and in many areas, including my relationship with God, my relationship with family, my role a teacher for my kids, my health, my diet, my career (such that it is..or whatever it is), and my spiritual well being. That is a long list, but, really, my entire life needs an overhaul. My children’s lives also need renewal and one of the biggest areas where they need renewal are in their friendships. My daughter, 5, needs friends, period, and my son, 13, needs much better friends than he has now.

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I am using the definition of renewal that is “the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.” Not the definition of starting something back up again – unless I apply that definition to my life in general. I am broken. Physically for sure and in some ways emotionally and spiritually. I need to hit the refresh button in my life and revitalize my diet, my exercise, my mind, my spirit.

I am tired.

Every day.

I am physically tired but somedays I’m not sure if I am physically tired because I am emotionally and spiritually tired or if I’m physically tired because of something going on with my health. I have hypothyroidism, so that does make me tired. I seem to be in the midst of perimenopause, so that makes me tired. I may, or may not, have an autoimmune disease, so that makes me tired.  My vitamin d is low (which may be related to one of the possible health issues I have) so that makes me tired too.

But I think somedays I am tired because I think too much and my mental exhaustion translates into physical exhaustion. I watch too many sermons, trying to incorporate it all into my life in one fell swoop, instead of just watching one and meditating on that one sermon all week. I follow too many social media sites that offer encouragement, which I know sounds silly. How can you receive too much encouragement? But, when you try to apply it all at once like I do points from the sermon, it can become too much.

In other words, sometimes there are too many voices in my head and I need to silence them so I can hear God’s.

“Just…ssshhh. Let me think. Let me hear.” That’s what I want to say to all the voices.

“Let me try to figure this out before ya’ll start yelling at me about how to get my health back on track; how to get closer to God; how to improve my spiritual walk; what I should eat to feel better; who I should watch for spiritual guidance; what I should/shouldn’t be saying to/doing with my children.”

I just can’t listen to it all anymore.

I need renewal and I need it with a little less noise.

That’s why five days ago I started a complete social media fast that I hope will force me to focus on the areas of my life I need to work on. Health is certainly at the top of that list because, as I mentioned above, I am tired. My muscles hurt. I am winded from climbing the stairs most days. And, yes, I am grossly over the weight I should be for my short stature.

I do not eat fast food. I do not eat bread. I do eat some sugar. I do not eat regularly or include enough protein with each meal. And I do not exercise because – did I not mention this yet? – I am TIRED!

However, I do know that exercise can help with that as well, so I hope to incorporate at least some walking this year and go from there. To be honest, though, I’m so tired today (a few days before that lovely Aunt Flo comes) that even writing “I plan to walk more this year” makes me feel like a blooming hypocrite. I don’t know if I really do “plan” to walk more, but I “want” to walk more. How about that?

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Other words I could adopt this year: reinvigorate and refresh. I need to be reinvigorated and I need to hit a refresh button.  Part of that refresh we hope will come by selling this house and moving to a new one. Leaving this house won’t leave behind the hurts we’ve experienced while living in this town. It won’t change that family on my husband’s side have barely spoken to us in years and somehow blame us even though we tried to reconnect but were always told “We’re too busy for you.” Moving will not change many things, but we see it as a type of restart – a chance to make some changes for the better.

That restart started for us in April of this year when my husband started a new job, 40  minutes from where we live now, and opened up a door to an entirely new experience for him. The rest of the family is ready for some changes and new experiences too so right now we are praying we can sell this house, buy the one we already have an offer on and “get out of dodge”, so to speak.

So how about you? Do you choose a word of the year? A word to help guide you throughout the year, not pressure you like a resolution? A word to grow with you as you step through each day? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in choosing a word and would like some guidance on how to do it (even if it just for yourself and not to announce to your readers or publically) check out The Dolly Mama’s post, How To Choose Your Word of the Year (helpful reminders and simple steps)…Find Out Mine

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When you finally get sick of trying to make everyone happy

I wrote a blog post this weekend and a day later I deleted it because I realized it was another example of me trying to appease other people who I may or may not have offended and darn it to heck, people, I’m tired of kissing the feet of every Tom, Dick or Harry who is offended by the world.

I spent six years of my life cowtailing to a group of people in my life, desperate to change who I was so they would like me and I would fit in with them, only to be constantly reminded I didn’t. I’m in my fourth decade of life and I just don’t have time for the game called Popularity where no one wins.

I remember changing posts on Facebook or deleting them after private messages were launched at me about my thoughts on faith or my son’s so-called private school that turned out to be some weird cult where you died if you left it. Trust me, I prefer being dead to those people than when I had to cage who I was to be sure I didn’t offend them.

Was it all their fault? No, but yes. No, because it was up to me to ignore those who are chronically offended but yes because they were chronically offended.

I used to hide feelings, what movies I watched, music I listened to, books I read or beliefs I held just to be sure I didn’t offend them. I made sure I didn’t comment, even on my private page on Facebook, because the cult apparently had people stalking me and I would find warning, scolding emails or Facebook messages to me and once I was even called to remind me what I was and was not allowed to say online. That’s no way to live but it wasn’t until they started doing it to my son that I had finally had enough.

So when I wrote that blog post to try to appease someone I knew I had pissed off and who, as usual, chose not to speak to me about it, but act out in other ways, I realized I had fallen back into the same butt-kissing, floor groveling, sad, pathetic person from my past. The one who begged people to like her. The one who was willing to change who God made her to be so others would accept her. The one who was sick and tired of the cold shoulders, the pursed lips and the sideways glances through narrow-slit eyelids.

People, please. Don’t keep bowing to people who don’t even care enough about you to ask how you are or who, most likely, don’t even care the way you think they do. Don’t be like me and project your feelings onto them. Don’t think they are sitting there hating you, or loving you, when they may not be. Just be you and forget what everyone else thinks – to a point. I don’t mean intentionally offend people or get up in their face but just write what you want, if you feel it needs to be said, draw what you want, listen to what you want and watch what you want. I don’t really want you to listen to trashy music or watch a bunch of violent sex-filled movies so don’t go too far here but you know what I mean, right?

Let’s just stop trying to make everyone like us and accept not everyone is going to and if they don’t like you for who you are then they don’t need to be in your life anyhow – no matter how good of a friend they used to be.