Standing in the Doorway
I’m an absolute sucker for new beginnings. It could be because we moved around so much when I was younger or because I continued to move around so much as I delved into adulthood, but the promise of a fresh start, of somehow hitting a reset button, is unnervingly appealing to me. (So much so, I actually celebrate TWO New Years a year – one at the traditional time, January 1, and the other on my birthday in September.)
I included the statue of Janus, above, because I always love the idea of him…standing in a doorway, god of all beginnings, looking at what was while simultaneously casting a gaze forward at what could be; so influential, our first month of a new year is named after him. Many of us use this time of year to reflect back on our accomplishments and our failures of the past year, using our new wisdom to shape our resolutions moving forward. I’m not really one for being heavy on regrets or dwelling too much on what didn’t work (except around 2am some random nights, apparently) unless I can find a moment for learning or personal improvement from it.
No, this post won’t be a list of all the mea culpas of my life. I’ve mostly apologized to those I need to, including myself.
Instead, I’ll share a little about what I’m focusing on in the new year while the promise of 2018 glows brightly in my mind. I’ll admit, we’re in the heat of summer right now, where the combination of sunshine and ongoing holidays invites loose-limbed laziness over contemplative, purposeful reflection.
I’ve borrowed Chris Brogan’s idea of having 3 words to focus on since I remember reading about it a few years ago. (Here’s his 3 words for 2016. Not sure if he continued the trend into 2017 as I can’t find it in a quick Google search.)
In short, I’m going to Marie Kondo my life. (If you’ve been hiding out under a rock, here’s more about this magical Japanese woman.) What does that mean? Simply, if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in my life, I’ll thank it for its place in my life and let it move on to wherever or whomever with it needs to be next. Yes, this applies to both objects and people.
I operate better when things are less complicated, and whatever I can control in that capacity, I will. I’ll be more selective so I don’t unconsciously collect as I move along, and I believe using ‘simplify’ as one of my 2018 cornerstones will enable me to more clearly focus on and appreciate those people that are irreplaceable and the things already surrounding me. While I won’t magically become minimalist, I think this will help me consciously uncouple from those things unnecessarily cluttering my mental, emotional and physical energies.
I initially had ‘Success’ here, but that word just didn’t ring true to me. I’m one of those who has the belief that if you keep your head down and do the work, success (however you choose to define it) will come. Besides, I’d struggle to really identify what ‘success’ would mean to me, as it’s more of the little wins every day that make me feel accomplished than any one big thing. Maybe it’s something I’ll work on in following years.
Why ‘Start’? Because it makes me stretch, forcing me to get outside my comfort zone. I’m one of those kinds of people whose inaction is often disguised as indecision, as I mentally weigh the pros and cons until the moment is lost. To an outsider, it may seem I lack initiative. It’s often because I feel unprepared to start. (Which you’d consider kinda hilarious if you knew the amount of preparation I often put into things.) ‘Start’ means I have to take the initiative more, forcing me to make decisions, learning from my successes, my failures, and ultimately more about myself in the process. Everything can’t be perfect all of the time, no matter how much I wish or want it so. So, I’ll learn. And I’ll learn by taking that first step before I’m prepared to.
Admittedly, when it came to identifying the third word for this, I was stuck. All sorts of words ran through my head and, because I have a weakness for alliteration, I was learning towards words starting with ‘s.’ Which is when my brain stumbled across ‘sincerity’ in its travels, and the more I thought about it, the more it resounded with me.
Sincerity, to me, means combining seriousness (not to be confused with severity) and honesty. It’s being fully invested in what’s before me, fully focused on giving something or someone its/their full weighted value. Whether it’s the work at hand or the person talking to me, the book I’m reading, or the blog post I’m writing, it’s treating everything and everyone with the respect they deserve. It’s also a clarion call to myself – it’s consciously being sincere in my expressions and words instead of hiding behind throwaway actions or phrases. So many people have been raw and true in what they’ve shared with me and their bravery and honesty has always awed me. It’s time to be one of those people.
And there you go. After much thought and reflection, there are my 3 words for 2018. I still have my goals for the year to physically write out (this is my goal planner I’ll be using this year), and a new planner to start filling in (for the curious, I’ve migrated back to Passion Planner this year), but these are my core cornerstones to come back to.
How will you be greeting 2018? By reflecting back or looking forward?
What 3 words will you carry with you into the new year?