Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Word for the Year


Life is good, my friends; life is good. A year ago, I found myself in a dark place, taking DEEP BREATHS to stave off the loneliness and the sadness that all but engulfed me. My father had passed away just before Christmas, and my marriage was ending. My days were spent hiking long and hard into the canyon above the house, trying to escape the desperate feelings that seemed to be settling over me whenever I was still enough to allow my brain to think and my heart to feel.

Last year, as I contemplated my choices for a word of the year, it was easy for me to choose BRAVE since it was the one thing I wished I were, and the one thing that I definitely was not. I had to face my biggest fear, that of being alone, and I was so scared. I clung to the days that my youngest child was with me, and was overjoyed at the end of each school day when he would come home to me. But during the weeks when I was alone, doubt would creep in, and I cowered in the solitude that reverberated throughout the house. 

Over the course of the months following January, I began to come to terms with the death of my father, and began to discover the mixed blessings that came with my newfound "freedom." 

Some days, I simply focused on breathing, and knew that as long as I kept exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, I was doing okay. I had to be brave, time and time again, as I pared down my belongings, made arrangements to have my little rental renovated, moved from two spacious homes into a 900 square foot cottage, started dating again, interviewed for a teaching job after less than a year of retirement, and began teaching second grade after retiring the previous year from a 30 year career. The more chances I took, the braver I felt. Last year was a year of phenomenal growth for me. I would hate to endure it again, but I have to admit the blessings of confidence and self-awareness were worth the trials.
Saint Charles, my new hometown

I love words; focusing on just ONE is a challenge, but one I enjoy. There are so many words I could choose, it is almost intoxicating.

Today I find myself in a place of comfort and joy in my life. I am married to the kindest, most loving man I've ever known, in Illinois, 1400 miles from the state of Utah I have called home since 1979. I am retired again, and have time to read and write once more. I've proven I can do brave. I am in need of a new word for 2015.
Trading my slot canyons in Utah for the "urban canyons" of downtown Chicago

Chuck and I were discussing possibilities last week, and I was torn between GRATITUDE and DISCOVERY. I am so grateful for so many gifts, so many friends, so many family members, and I do not think it will be a challenge for me to express thanks for all I've received. I want my word to make me stretch, and remind me to keep growing. DISCOVERY will do just that.

Chuck has said time and time again that he can't wait to watch me soar in my retirement, with my writing and photography. He realizes I will be cultivating new friendships, discovering new talents, and practicing my old ones. He is hoping I will take advantage of our suburban lifestyle and take classes, and explore the many opportunities that are here for me.

I have a new hometown to discover. A new marriage. A precious husband. I have new stepsons to get to know. A new mother- and father-in-law. Technological programs that will help me maintain relationships with my faraway family and friends. My husband's photography equipment is waiting for me to discover more possibilities than I dared to wish for. Urban landscapes and rolling hills beyond the flat plains. There are new trails, new paths, new streets. A new friend nearby who has offered to have a meet-up at the local bookstore.

Yes, by being brave in 2014, and being open to a long-distance relationship that led to marriage and moving, I now have a new life waiting to be discovered. 2015 is full of hope and promise, and I am thrilled by the opportunities that are mine to discover and explore this year.

In psyching myself up for my new word, I did a little internet search on Google, and found these gems to stoke my motivational fire. (BRAINY QUOTE) I hope you will find something here that inspires you, too.

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought."
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

"You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things."
Nate Berkus

"There'll always be serendipity involved in discovery."
Jeff Bezos

Here's to a year full of wonder and discovery.
Happy New Year, friends!


  1. What a lovely post - and what a good story :) - I enjoyed reading your words!

    1. Thank you, Judy. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. happy new loves in later years - right there with you. :-)


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