In 2014, I learned that it is trendy to choose one word for the new year and focus on it for the next 12 months, as a way to stay away from resolutions that fizzle out by April. So, in 2014, I chose “Gentle.” As I opened up to God and the universe through that one word, books like Attitudes of Gratitude and One Thousand Gifts plopped in my lap. I started journaling about gratefulness, i.e. jotting down 10 things I am thankful for every morning. I continued my journey towards gentleness through the step of appreciating what I have.
And then I had a couple of not-so-gentle episodes with the kids, in the fall. I was desperate to find a solution. Thankfully, there’s Google. I found The Orange Rhino. This book and system pretty much states everything I already found to be true about being patient and gentle with my kids. The author is funny (and she can use some language, just a fair warning) and human.
So, you see, it works. Choosing one word and focusing on it throughout the year will push you in that direction slowly, but surely.
Which brings me to my next point. My 2014 was crazy busy. I was burned out by August and I recovered briefly in September, when we went to the beach. October went by so fast, I thought it was a dream. Then, I got really sick at the end of November, due to too much work and not taking care of myself. No more.
My word for 2015 is “less,” i.e. less stress, less work, less activities. After much thought and prayerful consideration, I had to cut a few things out of my schedule. By doing less, I can be more.
Sadly, I cut out of my schedule:
1. Alliance Française meetings – two hours away both ways by car to be there for one, maybe two hours, did not make sense.
2. Writer’s Guild – they are fiction writers and I focus on nonfiction; besides, they wanted feedback on their writing and I just don’t have time to read their manuscripts and give thoughtful feedback in return.
3. Review Crew – blogging about homeschool products sent to me for free meant that I had to spend time using those products with my children three times a week… It was fun, but exhausting, because we already had our own products and curricula we used and paid for.
4. French Play Group – it took me one hour both ways to get to the library where I taught this class; fewer and fewer students showed up; when the number stayed consistently under five, I canceled the class. Of course, that’s when I heard from some of the parents, who were expressing disappointment – but they never even showed up to class. Go figure.
Hopefully, doing less and being more will also keep me gentle, which was my quest last year. This way, the two years are connected and I build on things I learned last year.
“Less” is my word for 2015. What is yours?