My Word of the Year
Each new year brings about a built-in moment to reflect on the high’s and the low’s of the 365 days that has passed. Even for us constantly reflective types, the fresh new calendar provides such a nice moment to carve out deeper thinking and intentionally planning for how we will take on a new twelve months.
This past year, particularly these past three months since school has started, I have leaned into using my ‘in between time’ (that’s the time I am not working or mom-ing) to consume rich materials of media, be it books, theatre, film, podcasts, classes and even content online. Making a conscious decision a couple months ago to be more thoughtful about who I follow and what I digest as a reader/listener/learner/participant, I am pleased to share what has brought me to my word of this year: Becoming. I have learned that it’s a good thing to take in a lot of information if you are seeking to learn more about something or to live differently, but to always be mindful of the perspective from which it takes and allow yourself to be selective in how you apply someone else’s ideas into your own life. Here’s what I came across.
1) In September, my friends and I began a Book Club, and while this wasn’t our first book, it was recommended to me to read Rachel Hollis’ “Girl Watch Your Face.” I dutifully downloaded the audiobook and could not stop listening (I highly recommend this form of the book, her voice is so passionate!) This springboarded myself and some other friends to join Rachel Hollis’ #last90days challenge in which we all committed the last 90 days of the year to working on realizing our best selves. This did include some guidelines or her “five to thrive” which was
1) wake up an hour earlier
2) drink half your weight in ounces every day
3) give up one food item you know is not good for you
4) write 10 things you’re grateful for every day
5) exercise daily for 30 minutes.
While I definitely was no pro at completing each of those things perfectly every day, I appreciated the tangibility and realness of these goals. They were not outlandish but did challenge me to make the time and effort to do them. The thing about this that I did enjoy most though, was the community it thrust me into. I was on a text chain with about 12 girls, some I knew, but some I did not! We cheered each other on and held each other accountable throughout the 90 days. This helped me realize that we can’t do things alone. Everyone needs community, partners, to lean on when things are hard and to celebrate with when things are amazing. @rachelhollis and @mrdavehollis are truly motivating folks, you should all check them out!
2) In mid October, as a part of my five to thrive, I was finding that besides offering to walk the dog every day to get my 30 minutes of exercise, I was not able to get more of a work out in. I decided to again, listen to some of my dear friends and give a try to @orangetheoryfitness. Now, admittedly, this is sort of a trend-exercise movement right now that I definitely needed to stretch my budget to accommodate for, but they offer at 5am class near my house which is the only time of the day that is only scheduled for sleep (you can sleep when you’re dead, right?) Surprisingly each time my alarm goes off at 4:30am, I jump out of bed to get there so I can sign up to get on the treadmill right away and have really enjoyed the effects its had on me. It’s a really good structured work out that is led by a coach, and it allows me to just go on auto-pilot and not have to think too hard about how I will achieve a well-rounded work out for the day. It also results in my day having much more energy, surprisingly, which is much-needed when working with teenagers. I know not everyone has the luxury of spending a lot on a gym or even WANTS to, but my point of this experience is that we should all try new things to prove to ourselves that nothing is impossible (like working out in the early-ass hours of the morning and then going to work all day!)
3) Last month, I experienced a chemical pregnancy which basically means that the stick had two lines and then a week later, it did not. Losing a pregnancy is something that I knew was always a possibility, but after my first had been so easy and so healthy, I had put it out of my head that I would have to deal with any issues about having another. We spent two days in a pretty dark place, but as a educated myself about what had happened I learned that there was nothing I could have done differently to change the outcome. I also found comfort when I talked to friends, family, searched online for others’ stories, and realized how common it is, but no matter how common, it is still a hard experience to endure.
At the start of December, when I thought I was pregnant, I excitedly decided to download Michelle Obama’s new memoir, “Becoming” which I also highly recommend the audiobook of. Her story is truly remarkable and inspiring. I felt many points of connection with her, a love for the city of the Chicago, ambition and drive to have a successful career and be a mom, a passion for health and wellness for children. At the same time I learned much from her honesty and reflection on being in the public eye and having a huge personal responsibility of being the First Lady.
When I found out I had lost the pregnancy and I listened to her own struggles with fertility, her vulnerability struck me. I found myself crying as I walked the dog and strolled my baby around my neighborhood while listening. It was hard to listen to, but her bravery and resilience were what moved me most. The idea that pregnancy and motherhood are not a given, but becoming a mother is something that looks different for many.
I am drawn to the idea that we are never stuck, we never have to stay the way we are, where we are, or the circumstances that we are in. We can choose to look at things as always changing, and not being attached to the current state of being. We are always becoming, always learning and always growing into ourselves. And so, thanks @michelleobama for helping to make it clear to me that my word for this year will be “Becoming.” I will spend the year coming back to that word when I feel lost or need something to be grounded in. I think it fits!
Already this year in just a few short days has brought some rough seas and storms, but I’m finding that it is how we remain calm, and remember who we are in those moments that matters. I don’t expect 2019 to be easy, but a necessary step towards what comes next for my future. We shall see who I will become!