Once upon a time…ok, four years ago…I said good riddance to anything resembling a New Year’s Resolution and instead picked a word of the year. Something through which to observe, interpret, and respond to the world. A semantic pair of glasses, if you will.
2011 the word was strong, which was the best word I could have chosen, as that was absolutely the year from hell. It amuses me, in a shaking my head sadly sort of way, to read the word post from that year; I thought 2011 would be an improvement over the previous two and instead it was quite likely the hardest year of my adult life. So strong was a lifeline for me, something for me to clasp tightly when it felt like I was going down for the third time.
2012 I was so thrilled to dropkick 2011 out the door that my word was grateful. I survived and was more or less mentally intact. My plan was to be grateful for all I had; instead I started sliding into a downward spiral, screaming “But I’m grateful!” as I went.
2013 I’d had enough. I’d had enough putting up with crap, I had enough in my life, I was enough. Strangely though, the word wasn’t enough for me, and I more or less abandoned it last fall. That surprised me.
So when I started feeling the urge in December to pick a new word for 2014, I didn’t quite know where to look. I was one for three with previous words, and really didn’t care to go one for four. For me, the word needs to be something deeply personal, and after two years of meh words, something on which to grow.
Back up a bit.
In November I got to hear Stephanie Tolan present on resilience at the NAGC conference. I like her a whole lot, love her books, am deeply grateful for her contribution to gifted advocacy; her Is It A Cheetah? metaphor is one of the best things I’ve ever read. Her presentation stuck with me long after it was over, the main thesis being the story you tell is the story you live into. I could not get this thought out of my head. Last June a friend of mine challenged me to find the joy in every day, and while I’ve continued to do that I still struggle with depression and general
anger frustration dissatisfaction with my life. When you have a complex child who has challenges in every aspect of his life you tend to wear out and rail against the universe; I know I’m not alone in that. I’m not leading a life I particularly enjoy, though there are parts that kick ass and I love. So her presentation on resilience was really one on story. As a writer, it hit home for me. I have the power to change my story.
Write my story.
Rewrite my story.
Live my story.
Her book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life, was the first one I put on the Kindle I got for Christmas (how I went so long without this little bibliophile’s delight is beyond me). I’m working my way through it and thinking hard about the year ahead. For the first time in a very long time I’m hopeful about the year. It’s been a long time coming.
I’ve been strong, I’ve been grateful, and enough’s enough. This year it’s all about my story.
And I get to write it.