Every year just prior to January 1st, I feel like there’s all this pressure to figure out exactly how you’re going to make the following year better. Maybe subconsciously, that’s why I have this so-so feeling every NYE. It’s a lot of pressure. And then a couple of years ago, people started choosing a word to focus on for 365 days. Just one word. I wanted mine to be “tacos”, but opted for something a little more “you go, girl” and a bit less “hard or soft shell”. In 2016, my word was “peace”. My struggles with anxiety were at an all-time high (and for much of that year), so all I wanted was peace of mind, body, and spirit. Once 2017 rolled around, I was feeling more at peace (thank you, medication and therapy) and open to seeking joy again. So, 2017’s word was “joy”. All year, I wanted to make sure joy mattered in what I was doing. Even when times were hard (because anxiety doesn’t just disappear), I tried to seek it. It wasn’t an easy year, but it definitely wasn’t a bad one either. Which leads me to my word for 2018….
That may seem like such a cliché choice, but this word has been making its presence known for a month now. Earlier in December I purchased this winter scarf from Fellow Flowers .
At that time, I wasn’t really looking that deeply into the bravery theme. The scarf just spoke to me, so I got it. Then, as December began to dwindle down, I kept seeing the word “brave” in print and in my thoughts. It was everywhere. At least it felt like it. A few days before NYE, a friend posted a quiz on Facebook that was supposed to help you figure out your word for the year ahead. I hesitated to take it because I was already leaning toward “brave” and I didn’t want some internet quiz to make me think otherwise or second guess the signs being sent my way. But I took the quiz anyway because 1) I trusted the friend who posted it, and 2) I’m a sucker for a quiz about words. So I make my way through it, answering less than ten questions, and my word is…….
Well, damn. There ya have it. I guess it’s official. But when I think about it, “brave” was creeping its way into my life far before the ball dropped in Times Square. Facing anxiety over the last two years required bravery. Making joy a priority last year, even when anxiety loomed, required bravery too. But I think the real eye-opener, at least for me, was when I quit my job of 13 years and started a new job just before Christmas last month. Stepping out of comfort zones, stepping on fear, and stepping out on faith – yassss, honey. That’s some brave stuff. And the beauty is, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. After taking such a bold leap, I finally realize not only what it feels like to let faith lead, but that I CAN do hard things. I know I’ve told myself that countless times before, but action speaks volumes. So yeah, brave it is. Oh hey, and let me sign up for half marathon #10 while I’m at it. Because after taking nearly two years off from running, gaining back some weight, and feeling intimidated by the thought of having to start “all over again”….. bravery is signing up for a half marathon in April (I see you, Glass City). You say you want to be brave this year, Heather? Prove it.
OK, I will.
If you’re reading this (thank you!) and already chose a word – I hope the year ahead is filled with all the things that make you (and your word) blossom. If you haven’t chosen a word yet, you still have time. Actually, you can choose a word or a feeling or even a taco whenever you’d like. There are no set directions. You get to make the call. But whether you choose a word or not, I hope that, like me, you live bravely this year. The kind of brave that makes you feel good from your head to your toes. The kind of brave that gives you more peace and joy than you can imagine. The kind of brave that’s meant for you and only you. Go ahead, you don’t need anyone’s permission. Live bravely.