I have a friend who chooses a “focus word” at each start of the new year. Two years ago, I joined her and chose the word CREATE. That was the year I started Sometimes Homemade. Last year I didn’t pick a word for the new year, but my word seemed to choose me: GRATEFUL. I found myself being reminded through many events throughout the year that I have so much to be grateful for.
I hate that many very close friends had to experience challenging and sometimes heartbreaking times for me to start being more mindful every day of how grateful I am – a friend whose daughter is battling cancer (and is kicking cancers ass!), a friend who had to have brain surgery to remove a tumor (benign thankfully!), a friend who died unexpectedly at 41 leaving behind a wife and newborn son.
It isn’t that I necessarily lived life unaware of my many blessings, but it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day life.and not be as mindful as I should be. The situations of my friends are unimaginable, potentially devastating, and yet in each situation I have been amazed by the fortitude and strength of our friends and how they choose to move forward and deal with their situations. I have learned so much about grace, generosity and most of all gratefulness from them.
It’s been a very challenging year for me at work. Instead of letting something like work stress affect my health and my relationships as it has at times in the past, even on the most stressful days or when I’m working a lot of hours, I’m trying to instead be grateful. I have a good job that helps support our family, I generally like my position. I’ve had some great successes in past years, it is often challenging in good ways, and I have a really smart and dedicated team. Above all else, while I need to work for financial reasons, I realize I have a choice in what I do and where I do it – and for that I’m grateful.
It really hit me as my husband and I were talking one night about having another child. It’s something we both want, but at nearly 40 isn’t always as easy as deciding. It would be easy to feel disappointed every single month that it doesn’t happen, and let’s face it – it is disappointing. What I’ve decided though is that I refuse to be disappointed in my life if that doesn’t ever happen for us. We have an amazing son, a good life together as a family and for that I’m abundantly grateful.
We have amazing family and friends, who we unfortunately don’t see as often as we’d like. With the challenges some have faced this last year, we are all trying to make more time for each other. Seeing most of my cousins at Christmas I was filled with a grateful heart acknowledging that I am very lucky to have an extended family who genuinely like each other and enjoy spending time together.
Focusing on being grateful has brought me more contentment this year. Our life certainly isn’t perfect, but if it was I’m not sure I’d be as grateful for what we do have and who we have in it.
I don’t really do any new years resolutions. I certainly try take the opportunity at the start of a new year to re-evaluate what things went well and what didn’t from the previous year and reset some of my priorities. I do like the concept of the focus word though, just to help shape mindfulness of goals for the year.
How about you? What word would you use to define last year or would you pick for the coming year?