In true "start-as-you-mean-to-go-on" fashion, I went for a run today. This happens every New Year's Eve. I dust of my sneakers and vow that THIS will be the year I stick with it. And not just running. I have a list. If I showed you my diary entries from December 31st for the last dozen or so years, you'd see the same dozen or so items on this list. I'm sure I'm not the only one who writes a "how I'm going to be a better human" list once a year. (tell me I'm not!?)
So as I'm running along Lake Michigan this morning, I suddenly realize with a slight panic I am not ready for the new year. I wrote my list, yes, but I haven't planned or prepped it. I haven't mapped out how my days are going to change, or assigned myself a schedule to create this "better human."
WAIT! I wanted to cry out, STOP the day, let me get this done, and THEN we'll drink champagne.
But of course, this is not how life works. Time marches on, stopping for no one. And in fact, it's usually when I say it aloud, or sketch out a plan, a roadmap to success, if you will, that I fall short of my expectations (aka, FAIL). It's not that I lose the desire to be a better person after the first few weeks of January. It's just that the definition changes depending on what life throws at me, and that part is impossible to predict.
So I'm trying this word of the year thing instead. I don't know who started this, or how it came to be, but I like the idea. And strangely enough, my word came to me in a dream a few days ago. I don't remember the dream except that it told me my word would be OPEN. I don't really even remember what that meant, or the context in which it was given. But it seems like a good word, so I'm keeping it.
When I mapped it out with bubbles and lines to help me make some sense of it, I came up with these words: accepting, vulnerable, naked, willing, permission, honest, real, not closed, ready. So now I just have to ask myself: is what I'm doing in this moment keeping me open? (And I suppose a run every once in awhile wouldn't hurt either!)
Speaking of running (again), my playlist today was made up of artists who left us in 2016. Sadly, a FABULOUS playlist. I thought for a moment of changing my word to PERMISSION because so many of the singers who are gone gave me permission to do/be/try something different (which mostly included swear words and body parts, and for an innocent Catholic girl in the 80s, that was pretty incredible!), but I decided that OPEN encompassed a sort of permission anyway, so I'm sticking with OPEN.
To end, I wanted to remind us all of the words of Prince:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life.
(Note: not around, or over, or under, but through. Yes, through. And all the messiness getting through entails. No doubt Prince's word was LIFE).
What is your word for the year, friend? How will you go through the year? Through life?