I’m a planner. By the time eighth grade rolled around, I already had my entire high school course load mapped out. My senior year in high school barely began, and I knew every class I was going to take for my college major and which clubs I was going to partake in. My dad would chuckle and remind me, “When people plan their lives, G-d laughs.” It wasn’t long before I understood my father’s meaning: I graduated from a college I never intended to attend; I reside in a place I never dreamed of living; and my career doesn’t remotely resemble what I studied. Still, I plan. But with much more flexibility and the knowledge that it can all go to s#*! at any moment.
Last year, my planning stalled. For lots of different reasons, I threw my hands up in the air and asked, “Why bother?” You know what happened? Nothing. I didn’t blog. I barely wrote. I created virtually nothing. I stood still. Sure, I thought about doing all those things, but life circumstances paralyzed me. Spending the better part of the year spinning my wheels, I ended the year (in terms of my personal goals and passion projects) in virtually the same place where I started. And that felt BAD.
As 2016 was moving toward the rear-view mirror, I stumbled upon Belong Magazine on Instagram; and as I got to know the founder, Brooke, through her daily photos and accompanying words, she became an inspiration. I recognized her struggles with her goals as my own, and her encouragement to take baby steps became a mantra of sorts in my head. The one thing I did a LOT of in 2016 was read, and so I added books like Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear to my reading list.
All of this inspiration led to my one little word for this year…
Belong Mag’s Instagram post a few days ago sums up the reason behind my word momentum perfectly: “If you don’t take a step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.” In her book, Elizabeth Gilbert told a story about her mother that beautifully illustrates the concept of doing your future self a kindness. This resonated with me to the point of almost haunting me. It is my future self that I must keep in mind when faced with the choice to move forward or remain in place. From something as simple as trying to decide if I should take five minutes to make a sandwich for lunch, I think of future me, who is going to be hangry if I opt to do something else with that time. When it comes to my goals, I must also think of the future me and make decisions that leave her in a more positive place than she was.
What is your one little word for 2017?