A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of choosing one single word to help guide my actions through the coming year. That one single word becomes the cornerstone of what's important to me without actually being a goal. When I set goals, I seem to have an innate ability to undermine them. It's almost as if I become determined to sabotage my own efforts, as if a goal is simply setting myself up for failure; simply too much pressure. One single word has no such power. Instead, it allows me to move at my own pace, while I ever-so-slowly build awareness of the little things that ultimately impact the big things in my life. One single word is all about being rather than doing; it encompasses every aspect of my life, rather than a single component of it.
Choosing one single word to live by for an entire year takes time, self examination, and reflection. For me, it starts by focusing on a few personal traits that could use a bit of tweaking. My word for 2017 was CHALLENGE. I was transitioning into retirement and felt I needed to find new outlets not only for my mental well-being but also physically. I started a bucket list and on that list was starting a Joy Jar so that I remembered to celebrate the little joys along with the big joys. Through the year, I ticked off a number of items, including that Joy Jar. Many items remain a work in progress. Of course, I am also adding new items and removing those that no longer feel relevant. In other words, my bucket list is very fluid, just like life!
CHALLENGE can be a very big topic, or at least, that's what I thought. . . until I chose my word for 2018: BE. While I have managed to go a little more with the flow over the past year, I still have a lot of work to do toward living in the moment without trying to control every aspect of it. I just read the blog, 34 Life Lessons I Learned in 2018; No. 4, 'Planning is Escapism' nailed me! Did I happen to mention that my entire 30-year career has been focused on planning? It’s not only what I do, it’s who I am! I don't know that I fully agree with the philosophy that making a plan is simply another technique in the procrastination arsenal, but it sure is food for thought. It's also a good reminder that it's okay not to have a plan for everything. If I thought CHALLENGE was, well, challenging, landing on BE has even been moreso! Baby steps!
Did I mention that my partner and I both have very strong personalities? We have both worked very hard to build professional reputations for knowing our business and being very good at what we do. We have both become very accustomed to running our own show with little to no interference. This has resulted in more than a few hiccups while learning to embrace our retirement. Dare I use the word conflict? If the shoe fits. . . Letting go of pride, being open to compromise and bringing harmony into our relationship can only be beneficial. Long ago, we accepted that we do not have to be on the same page, we do not have to agree on every subject, to live in harmony with each other. We have often joked that in our 40+ year relationship, we have successfully cancelled out each other’s vote in every single election at all three levels of government! My word, harmony, can be the touchstone I need to remind me that it’s not about control; it’s about embracing the very differences that likely attracted us to each other in the first place!There are a few things I do that already bring me a sense of peace, joy and harmony. A few years ago, while I was transitioning my career toward retirement, we decided to add a dog to our family. Our little Quinn has become quite a focal point of our lives and I embraced that responsibility of caring for and training her with gusto! But Quinn isn’t your average dog; in fact, I’m pretty sure I met myself in dog form as she is every bit as stubborn, opinionated and willful as I am! Yes, challenging is one of the words I would use to describe our foray into dogdom but also, great joy, a sense of accomplishment and yes, even harmony. Our daily walks help me in my personal health and wellness journey. The physicality of hiking through pastures, bush, and cultivated fields is not only good for my body, it works wonders for my soul. Having nothing but nature as a backdrop my mind easily shifts into something of a meditative state where the worries of the day slide away into oblivion and I can be in harmony within my own little world.
So, there you have it. my word for 2019. Harmony. I must say, I'm already loving it!
Harmony [hahr-muh-nee] noun, plural har·mo·nies
1. agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
2. a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.