We’re already 18 days into 2016, and I am just now getting around to fully processing my hopes and goals for this beautiful new year.
I’ve always loved the turn of the year – the fresh start it brings, the energy of a new season and the hopes of a clean slate. Ideas and goals and dreams bubble up inside of me and usually find their way to a long list of handwritten resolutions – more of this, less of that, try and do this – and while born of good intention, this tradition can quickly become more of a burdensome and unattainable to-do list than genuine inspiration for my year.
I gave up on resolutions a few years back when I became aware of the One Word 365 Project. The idea of shaping your year around one word was so enticing in its minimalism, simplicity, and intention. What one word can I use to sum up my desires for this year? How can I prioritize my life to point back to this one important goal? What will guide me through decisions and to-do lists as the weeks fly by? This idea transformed my goal-setting, my list-making, and my prior thoughts on resolutions. This project would not be about the ubiquitous weight loss or eating clean or saving money or traveling – at least not in such obvious words. This project would be about a guiding light, a compass to my own true north, and the freedom to say “yes” or “no” permitting it’s in line with my year’s chosen word.
Past years focused on “Balance” when I felt like I was poorly juggling too many roles, and was seeking a healthy way to order my life. “Present” was applicable two years ago when I was mentally living in the future – wishing to trade my current life for my daydreams of the future – instead of enjoying the precious moments of each day. Last year was guided by “Foster” – a desire to see growth and change cultivated in every facet of my life, whether in relationships or work or the physical world around me.
And this year, after much reflection and prayer (and ringing in the New Year in bed at 8:00 p.m. with a sick baby), “Nurture” is where I have settled. 2016 is the first year I have begun as a mother, and that new role has dwarfed all others for the time being (and possibly forever). While my sweet babe is so little and dependent, his needs innocently trump my own desires for personal improvement and ambition. When I picture the coming year, above every career-related goal, every financial milestone, each adventure on the bucket list, the thing that brings me most peace is the hope of nurturing the blessings I already have all around me. My marriage to Brad, my son Amos, my rowdy pup Norman, our small town community, our growing church, our intimate small group, our changing home, this acre of land we dwell on, my relationship with God, and even myself, as I’m increasingly becoming a fierce advocate for self-care.
“Nurture” will guide me when Amos is sick but I have an overflowing inbox demanding my attention. It will encourage me to pour a glass of wine and cook a nourishing meal and enjoy it with my family by the fireplace. Nurture will nudge me to take a restorative walk in the fresh air instead of succumbing to the fleeting pleasure of laziness. Nurture will remind me of the beauty and importance of prioritizing Brad and our friendship and time together as husband and wife. Nurture will give me the freedom to continue making our house a home, knowing that creating a refuge of creativity and rest is a gift to myself and the people we welcome here. Nurture will be at the forefront of my mind – fighting off the chaos of daily life and giving me permission to pursue a year of gentleness and intention. It will remind me of my deepest desires to build a life of love and tenderness, of peace and contentment, to raise my child and shape my marriage with patience and attention to each lovely moment, to know that joy is found not in self-improvement and the rat race of achievement, but in the smallest moments of care and nurturing.
This year will most likely not be glamorous, at least not by our world’s standards. For the first time since we got married, we are not moving or buying a house or starting a company or having a child or adopting a dog. While I have every bit of passion for our company and thankfulness to pursue my creative dreams each day, it will not be my primary source of fulfillment or excitement. Brad and I have a couple of adventures on the calendar but this will not be our year of travel with a baby in tow. I am learning to be okay with the slowness of each day, the opportunity to savor this season of care-taking and child-rearing, this chance to enjoy the people (and animals) around me and the home we’re building. This year, instead of chasing the ever-elusive More, I am choosing to Nurture what’s already been graciously put right in front of me.
What are your hopes for 2016? What’s guiding your year’s to-do list and shaping your resolutions? Share with us your word for the year if that’s how you roll!
Top photo courtesy of The Carrs Photography