Assuming I don’t hit crazy winter weather tomorrow (seriously — my family has the worst luck with transportation, at least in recent years), I’m actually a little excited for a long journey home. I got to thinking the other day about how long it’s been since I’ve traveled solo (although had I done the flights to and from London solo, I wouldn’t have made it). It’s always a prime opportunity to clear my head and often have a-ah! moments, which is very much needed.
Now that presents are done, work tasks are wrapped up and my apartment is relatively clean (but not necessarily organized…that’s the goal for next weekend), the main thing on my mind (other than quality family time) are my new years action plans/intentions. While I’ve got a few specific items already, I really want to make sure they’re focused on my word for the year.
And what might that word be? Embrace.
That’s the first word that popped in my head when I decided to have a word for the year, and no matter how many other words I come across, that’s what I keep coming back to. I’d given some thought to cultivate or enhance, but embrace just sounds so…Liz. Oddly enough, I also like it because it doesn’t have a goal-oriented self-improvement connotation. The other words just sound so rigid, and I’m hard enough on myself that I want my theme for the year to be more flexible and comforting. It’s about the process and overall experiences, not marking things off my to-do list to feel like I’m successful in certain areas of my life.
I also think it has a lot to do with where I’m at in life. Lately I keep thinking about Gretchen Rubin’s reminder that “the days are long but the years are short.” Day to day my life doesn’t seem to change (and I’m often quick to complain that my life is too routine), but looking back on this past year, quite a bit has changed. Time moves so quickly, and because of that, I want to start living more intentionally and enjoy where I’m at instead of always looking ahead to the next thing or being frustrated by what I haven’t accomplished. Instead of enhancing or improving my life, why not embrace it?
That’s why one of my intentions for the new year is to embrace new things, whether it’s volunteer opportunities, classes at the gym, people or books. Certain things may be well out of my comfort zone, but why not embrace that? Where would I be had I not given Zumba a shot a few years ago or started this blog? One of my favorite quotes is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
I also want to embrace my relationships, and since embrace can also mean to physically embrace someone, it seems incredibly fitting. My family and friends have always been a priority for me, so I want to focus on fostering deeper and more meaningful relationships so I actually give them the attention they deserve. I want to hug more, laugh more and say I love you more. Life is too short not to do those things, particularly in the limited time I have physically with my family.
The big thing I want to learn to embrace in the new year, though, is the unknown. It seems incredibly daunting, but it’s about time. I’m a Type-A planning control freak. I usually have back-up plans to back-up plans. Heck, not liking the unknown is why I created this blog in the first place. I felt like I needed direction and a sense of order once school wasn’t the focus. It’s time I learned to let go for once. It’s okay if I don’t know where I’m going to be a year or two from now. That’s part of life, and when I think about it, a lot of the great and life-changing things that have happened to me came from things that weren’t calculated or planning. They just happened.
Needless to say, I’ve got a tall order for next year. And this is by no means a comprehensive list, since I want to have more actionable items for these general topics (which I’ll try to figure out during my drive tomorrow). What makes it not seem overwhelming, though, is that my theme is more process-oriented than results-oriented (which let’s be honest, it’s really like me at all). I’m excited to see what the next year brings…after I get lots of quality time relaxing with my family and doggies.