A New Year, A New Emphasis

For the past several years I've been on board with the "word of the year" trend, which is when you choose a word to represent your hopes, dreams or point of emphasis for the coming year instead of a traditional New Years resolution. I think it's a helpful exercise because it prompts you to reflect on what you've experienced and what you see ahead.

When I began thinking about my word for 2017, I started reflecting on the past few years and the words I chose back then. They each reflected where I was at that point in my life. I think that's what I love about choosing a word of the year -- if you really take it seriously, those words become part of you. They become interwoven with your daily thoughts and prayers and provide positive reinforcement during the trials and tribulations of life.

The words I've chosen in the past -- thankful, focus, grateful, hope -- are still so important to me. And each year when I choose a new word, I don't throw away my old choices. I keep them and add to my list, and they become the words I fall back on when I need a pep talk. These words are so habitual to me that every day when I shower, I write "thankful" in the condensation on one glass panel, and I write "hopeful" on the other one with a little heart in the corner. It's my daily ritual, and it grounds me.

Our past few years have been filled with highs and lows. I remember feeling about 2015 the way that most people feel about 2016 -- I couldn't wait to see that year end. It was tinted deep blue by the sudden loss of my dad, and the sunshine didn't really return until this year with the birth of our twins. Throughout the hardships I kept reminding myself to be hopeful, so much so that the name choice for our daughter was a no-brainer. Every day, sweet Hope and her brother, Evan, remind us what's good in the world. They exude so much joy over the simplest things, and those smiles are contagious.

When I think about the year ahead, I picture all of the milestones we're hoping to witness: first steps, first words, first birthdays and more. My main goal is to soak it all in, to freeze time as often as I can so that the memories are stored in my head, ready to spring to the surface whenever I want to remember a precious moment. With that in mind, my word choice for 2017 was easy: present. 

Present is defined as "occurring now," and being present is "being of a particular place." That makes it sound so simple. We all know that you can be in a particular place without really being present. And that's what I want to avoid in 2017.

It's easier said than done, right? I've been trying to think of practical ways to be more present in everyday life.

Step 1: Start saying No. Lean out of all unnecessary commitments and lean in to more time with the people who matter.

Step 2. Put the phone down. Now this one is hard for me because I love to capture the moment with my phone camera. I think that's relatively harmless, but being on my phone reading Twitter when I could be laying on the ground playing with the twins is just not a good use of my time. That's the dumb stuff I can get rid of to be more present.

Step 3. Enjoy the now. For me, this means soaking up each stage that the babies are in as opposed to wishing myself forward. I remember saying, "I can't wait until they can hold their own bottles!" Now that they can, I feel a little sad about it. I'm trying to be present in each phase of their development because we don't plan to have more children, so I want to remember as much of this part of their precious little lives as I can.

If you've been a longtime reader, you know I don't blog very often anymore. That's because I simply can't do it all, and I'm OK with that. My personal life if more demanding, my day job is more demanding, and sometimes the optional hobbies have to take a backseat. But I still love this blog and will be here sharing projects and other fun stuff when I can. If you'd like more daily updates, I invite you to follow me on Instagram (@JordanG106) where I share scenes from our home and our life on a daily basis.

Do you choose a word of the year? What's your choice for 2017?

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