“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce
Today is the first day of a new adventure in your life and in mine.
We woke this morning to a blank page. Hidden within the pages of this next year are opportunities, hope, joy, sadness, victories, defeats, gains and losses.
All the things you accomplished in 2016, are the foundation upon which your future successes stand.
All that you failed at in 2016 – in big and small ways – is building up your character and made you resolute to stand firm and try again.
All that brought you happiness and joy in 2016, reminds you of the balance between the mountaintops and valleys. The joys push you forward during times of struggle.
All that brought you to your knees in sadness and grief in 2016, left your heart tender and open to the world around you.
This is the beginning of a great year.
I no longer make resolutions. I haven’t for about three years, now. Instead, I choose one word that serves as a mantra of sorts for the entire year. It is the word that is the lens through which I try and view all things that come my way. I went back this morning and read my essay from January 2016. I was curious about the word I chose and the goals I had set for myself. My one word for last year was: INTENTION. I suppose I wanted to make more deliberate decisions in 2016. I reviewed my list of goals for the year and evaluated myself on how well I had accomplished those goals. Some were a success and some were not.
For 2017, I spent some extra quiet time to really think about the one word mantra that I wanted to pick for myself. I asked myself some very tough questions and didn’t slack on the answers. I was brutally honest with myself. I also listened carefully to those around me – Dave and my girls in particular.
So my one word for 2017 is (insert a reggae-like drum roll here):
This is not an easy concept for me to wrap my head around. I pride myself on efficiency, productivity and a strong work ethic. The old way of doing things tends to look like a whole lot of hustling and being a “busybody”.
Linger: to remain in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave; to remain alive, continue or persist; to dwell in contemplation, thought or enjoyment.
Heaven help….this is not going to be easy for me. But I think it is a necessity.
I equate my worthiness with my ability to mark things off my list….be busy…..be dependable and responsible…..put off my pleasure until I made sure everyone else was taken care of. All of those things are ok, but there has to be a balance. Dave said to me recently, that the only time he saw me living that balanced life was at the beach. I talk a lot about it. I encourage others in my circle to live that balanced life. And to be fair to myself, I feel certain that I accomplished this as it relates to my relationship with work and home. I used to work until late; brought home a briefcase full of things to do. In the last few years, I learned the art of managing my time and tasks at work so that when I am home, I am home.
Yet, being home looked a lot like “working”; yet, the work was different. I guess I bought into the notion that idleness at home was the same as laziness. I’m not sure where this came from.
Dave is constantly reminding me that it is ok to come home from work and not have a “to do list” to accomplish. Sometimes it is perfectly fine to allow myself some quiet time with a glass of wine and soft jazz. So, I achieved balance in some respects, but not in others. This year, I am looking for ways to Linger more at home.
Linger over a conversation.
Linger in a hug.
Linger in a kiss.
Linger over dinner.
Linger at a sunset or sunrise.
Linger over the words that I write.
Linger over the taste of foods and wines from around the world.
Linger in a yoga pose.
Linger in the quiet.
Linger in a prayer.
Linger in the love I feel for others.
Linger in the knowledge of God’s love for me.
Linger in extending Grace to myself and others.
Linger in the garden as I sift the dirt between my fingers.
Linger on a raft in the pool.
Linger on the floor playing with my puppies.
Linger over the stories that Grace and Anna tell from their day.
Linger in the warmth of Dave’s gaze.
Linger at the ocean.
Linger at home.
Linger at my interactions with staff, students and families at work.
This is a tall order for a task master like myself. But I think I am up for the challenge. I know I have lots of support and encouragement from friends and family. I’m anxious to see how this intentional practice to slow down and linger in my personal life will impact me in all areas.
I am excited for 2017. I am excited to spend another 52 weeks with you; writing about the things that cause me to pause and give a breath of gratitude. I promise to linger over my writings and musings with greater thoughtfulness and honesty.
What about you, Reader?
What hopes do you have for the up-coming year?
Spend some time and linger over the possibilities.
New Year’s Blessings to you and yours.