Well, friends, it’s that time of year in the Slice of Life community where I reflect on where I am now, gaze ahead to the the coming year, and choose One Little Word to guide me. Last year, I started with the word gather, then slid into dissonance and landed, later on, on unfurl.
I’m glad that I gave myself the intention and grace to be flexible with my word-choosing last year, and judging how I’m feeling right now, I’m wondering if that’s how it’s going to be again this year. As a teacher, I feel my outlook and perspective depend heavily on the seasons: so much of my work and efforts are tied to what a calendar demands.
Which makes me further wonder: what is my core focus right now, and why can’t, or why shouldn’t it hold true and strong for the duration of the year? Shouldn’t my life run on certain foundational principles that never waver? I see the importance of themes that run deep, core tenets that apply no matter my situation or lot in life.
On the other hand, I know better. I know myself better, and I know life better. Yes, it’s possible to develop an amazing plan, and use that plan to guide me over time. And it’s ALSO possible that Life will lower its gaze, adjust its cap, wind up for the pitch and hurl me a big juicy curve ball. That, more than anything, is the constant I’ve come to expect.
Which still leaves me with my One Little Word. Funny, with all this talk about uncertainty, I still find myself at this time of year with a desire to look inward and downward to my roots, to rediscover and return to whatever essence of who I am and how I see myself. I’m craving certainty and grounding. It’s not the same as wanting to develop resolutions for the new year (a habit I gave up several years ago). It’s just that this time of year always threatens to detach me from my moorings. Maybe it’s the way the season pulls me from so many of my habits and routines that I start to wonder where I am in all of my choices.
At first, I thought reclaim might do. Right now, the work that I’m thinking of involves a reclamation of self. Somehow, though, it didn’t fit with my visualization of what I needed.
And then it hit me. Maybe I’m not yet sure what I want or need. Maybe this search is going to take me some time. Maybe I require more time to figure out whichever me I’m supposed to reclaim or restore.
I need to hold space.
Space to let myself be.
Space for conflicting thoughts and emotions to duke it out as needed.
Space to ask myself what I truly want, both in smaller moments and in the long term.
So my One Little Word, at least to start this year off, will be space. Which, for me, is a lot of little words tied together like dandelions gathered at recess: space, time, quiet…all gifts that I hope to grant myself more of in the coming year.
And when my next One Little Word peeps up from the soil, I’ll pluck that one, carry it home and place it in a jar on the windowsill…