Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Word...


Over the holidays, my dad commented on how bad 2011 was and decided that there were only 2 good things about it: me getting my doctorate and welcoming Julian into the family. Funny (and a bit disheartening) that I didn't even remember I had gotten my doctorate.

I think 2011 was a bad year for many...and it certainly was for me and J, my family, and many of my friends. There was a lot of loss and a lot of heartache. And probably the predictable response to such a year is to give it a few choice words as it goes out the door...or at the very least move on without ever looking back. But as I've been reflecting the past few days, I've come to the conclusion that is the wrong approach...at least for me. Time moves so fast in my world. Probably in yours as well. So fast that I'm hesitant to wipe a year away no matter how bad it was. Because there was good amidst the bad that I want...need...to remember. In fact, in some cases, there was good that came from the bad...and maybe those things wouldn't have happened otherwise. It's easy to come up with a list of things I want to forget. But it's also easy, I found, to come up with a list of just as many things that I want to remember about 2011. I won't do that in this space...some are too personal...but for anyone still in reflection mode (or even if you aren't), I'd urge you to think of what would go on that list. And embrace 2011, as hard as that may be, before moving on to 2012.

Last year, I chose my word of focus as 'deliberate'. Maybe not a lot of evidence on this blog but having that word did help me immensely this year. When I wasn't in the field, I slowed down and enjoyed what I was doing. Evidence of that was most prominent this holiday season when I was able to give handmade gifts to everyone on my list without going into a total panic mode about it. I enjoyed each step of each gift. It actually was so helpful to me I considered choosing that word again. But a new year should bring a new word...

This year I am choosing 'Self'. I don't take very good care of myself either physically or mentally and as I approach the big 4-0 faster than I care to admit, I feel more urgently that needs to change. I need to pay attention to what my body, mind, and soul needs to be healthy and happy. And then purge (almost my word for this year!) things not helping me reach those goals. Self does not automatically morph into self-ish...the trick will be finding the balance.

Looking forward to seeing what 2012 holds for myself, and my family...and for each of you.
_ _ _ _ _

Now playing: Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond ... and a story to accompany...

One of my fondest memories of the holiday season: The last night J and I were in WV, my family was spread throughout the house...dad, M, and I in the kitchen watching a cheesy movie...B and J (and Julian) in the living room reading...mom in the family room napping/watching TV. I was the first to join Mom and saw she was watching The Kennedy Center Honors and so I settled in (who wouldn't...among the line-up was Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma and Neil Diamond). The next up when I joined Mom was Neil Diamond. We turned it up and as his music floated through the house, it drew, one by one, everybody together. I love that...


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14 comments:

kate said...

I love your word choice, and your thoughts. And now I'm delightfully humming Sweet Caroline to myself....

Tad said...

Hey you! It's been a while since I commented on your blog but I do read all of your posts! MY word last year was "self" and though it was awkward to focus on, it did me a TON of good. Learning to care for and, more importantly, value and love yourself is incredibly important. To you and the world you're swimming in.

I aplaud you for recognizing that! It aint easy! Or at least it wasn't for me.

I also love that you saw the good in last year!

:)

Tad

kristieinbc said...

What a great post. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read through it. 2011 was a very rough year for our family too, but when I did my wrap-up post for the year I decided to focus on the things that had been good. And I think your word choice is very wise.

Lindsey said...

I agree with you, it shouldn't be erased. Much as the bad that happens in our lives can be painful and make us want to forget or deny or make like it didn't happen, the bad shapes us. We wouldn't be who we are without the good AND the bad.

Best of luck with "self" for 2012. Whenever I worry about getting selfish in caring for myself I try to remember that I can't fully be present and care for others in my life if I am not cared for, too.

Jodi said...

Hooray for the new year! I, too, was tempted to write off 2011 as a wash, but it did have its moments -- great new job, fantastic new apartment, another year spent with my favorite person in the world. Onward and upward...

Sarah said...

Oh good choice of word, and wise words about not wiping out a year. Wishing you and yours happier times for 2012 though - and be proud of that doctorate!

melissa said...

wonderful word choice.
my therapist has spent many hours trying to convince me that if i took better care of myself i'd be surprised how it changed my outlook on everything else. i'm finally starting to see what she is talking about. i wish you the same awakening in 2012.

and in a totally unrelated note - i love neil diamond! i always sing "sweet claire of mine" to claire when that song comes on.
(i also sing "sweet claire of mine" to the guns and roses song sweet child of mine... but that's a totally different genre.)

Mel said...

Beautifully written Rachel. Self can FEEL very self-ish to start (that's telling, that we tend to feel like we should beware of being selfish, even when talking about self-care), but it gains momentum and benefits (I still have so much to learn)... The first steps are the hardest. You're worthy of your own attention. (and, Deliberate. wow. awesome.)

I forgot about my word for last year... But it ended up being perfect. So maybe it was still there in my subconscious somewhere ;) It was release. 2012 I'm still having trouble saying out loud - There will be a post at some point (Devotion. oh god.)

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

A wise and healthy perspective, all around. And a beautiful memory. Music can move.

I chose deliberate as my word for this year.

elizabeth said...

Happy new year Rachel! I feel much as you do and can say that more good things happened in 2011 than bad. And even from the bad, there has been good. Here's to 2011 AND 2012!

Jacey said...

I think Self is a fabulous word, and I agree you can get there without the -ish on the end. I always love coming to your space, Rachel!

I don't think I ever really try to write off an entire year. It's always muddled, as you said. And there are certainly parts of 2011 that I'll never, ever forget.

raining sheep said...

2011 was a weird year - it was a bit of a blur for me with trying to get my degree done. I am ready to move forward. I really like your word. I want something similar but focusing on things I want to do rather than have to do. Hugs and happy 2012.

Kathy said...

what a good word. it is interesting how we feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. as melissa pointed out, we need to take care of ourselves to take care of others. and to just be the best person we can be in the world. and i wouldn't have guessed you were closing on 4-0!

Carrie#K said...

My mom and I watched that! I love that song.

Deliberate wasn't a bad word choice for me for 2011 - I just didn't live up to what I'd envisioned.

Time does go by so quickly. And so much more quickly every year. Self is an excellent word for you this year! Reminds you to take care of yourself.

You know you had a challenging year when you forget getting your doctorate.