Monday Musings: A New Year, A New Word

The last few years my “word of the year” has been an effort to make myself more sure, more confident, less … um … less me. I think I’m marginally better at being brave, at speaking up, at acting in spite of fear and doubts, I’m still fundamentally the same.

So, this year, instead of trying to convince myself I’m something I’m not (Brave, Fearless), I decided to return to something I used to be.

whimsy

Somewhere in the last few years, I’ve lost my whimsy.

Stud Muffin has always been the master of the unexpected fun. He could turn a boring drive into a game. Sometimes it was the usual road trip games, but often he added a twist. He would instigate water balloon fights while I hollered to keep my hair dry. He could sense when mutiny was near and deflect it with a detour, a sightseeing stop, or ice-cream.

Thanks to him, we have memories of freeze outs (driving in winter with the windows down. First one to beg for the heater on and window up lost), Taco Bell bags of food gifted by a stranger at a hotel pool, and pizza for dinner the night before vacation.

Not to say I was a complete downer. I planned those vacations, the beach trips, the camping excursions, the field trips. I drove to the beach, the museum, the aquarium. A lot of our family fun and memories wouldn’t have happened if not for my superb planning and organizational skills.

But I used to take more pleasure in the planning and the execution. It was my idea to drive into the hills to watch the meteor showers in August. My idea to go to a taping of The Price is Right and The Biggest Loser, I bought the tickets to the Raffi concert, the PBR, The Lion King.

We have a “neighbor” (in the country, we use that term loosely, since this one lives about three miles away) who makes an elaborate scene with lights on the small hillside next to their home every year. We’ve seen some dramatic scenes, including Yosemite’s Half Dome and an homage to Egypt, complete with Sphinx. One night last week it occurred to me that we hadn’t driven to see their display in a couple of years. It was a bit after eight o’clock. I opened my mouth to suggest we grab the car keys and make the five minute drive to see what they had this year.

Whimsy, right?

But … Stud Muffin already had on his slippers and flannel pants. The garage door was closed. We were snug. So I skipped it.

No whimsy.

And I regret it. So what if we were in slippers? Eight o’clock is not two am. A quick “late night” drive to see some beautiful lights could be just what we needed.

EV003000A few days later, on New Year’s Day, we saw a woman in a wheelchair with an American flag attached. She wore a Happy New Year hat and waved a streamer wand. She buzzed around in her electric chair, waving her streamers and wishing everyone a Happy New Year. She looked … odd. Even crazy. But fun! She was having a blast. Some people (you know who you are), rolled their eyes. But most smiled and waved and called out to her a Happy New Year greeting.

And I wished I had worn my hat with the lights, to sparkle some happiness back at her.

That’s whimsy.

This past weekend it rained. A lot. Stud Muffin took the grand-girls on a walk and they had a leaf race, sending a leaf of their choice racing down the gutter in the rainwater. Proving he still has whimsy.

Just what I want more of in 2017.

 

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Woe! It’s Wednesday: Being Brave, part 2

Well, I did my second brave thing this week.

A question was asked on one of my writers’ online email loops. I wrote a response, prayed, and clicked send. Then the wifi connection dropped.

braveRats.

Then I had second thoughts.

I decided not to send it.

I went in to my email to delete it from the outbox.

And watched it sail away.

Oh well, I told myself. You were brave. That’s the main thing.

There have been a few comments that I’ve responded to off the loop. Then yesterday a message came through that the officers in charge of the loop were crafting a response to me.

Ooops.

I’m soooo not a pot stirrer. Not a drama addict. I’m a keep-the-peace-at-all-costs kind of girl.

Gulp.

I wailed to one of my besties, “WHAT HAVE I DONE??!!” She talked me off the ledge. She reminded me that I didn’t say anything inflammatory. What I said needed to be said and it needed to be heard.

So …

If i let myself wallow, I start to panic again. Will my hand get slapped? Will I be scolded? Then I climb back off the ledge and remember the important things:

I was brave.

I addressed something that needed to be addressed.

I was brave.

This stuff is harder than I thought it would be.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Being Brave

I finally figured out my word for 2015. Or more likely I guess, I already have my word for 2016.

I had decided on “Let it Go” for 2015. But as much as I liked it, it didn’t really resonate with me. I did work on letting things, not worrying and/or obsessing over what I can’t change. I think I’m better about that.

CatFantasizesatMirrorSo maybe Let it Go was not ambitious enough.

You know how things/phrases/people sometimes converge and you know you need to pay attention?

I’ve had that happen lately about being brave.

I read an amazing book recently. I’ll review it soon, I promise.

Then I heard a podcast sermon about Matthew 18. Closely followed by a podcast interview which cited the same passage. What I took away from both was that when someone has hurt you, the burden to set it right is on the person who was wronged. I think I had to hear two separate messages about this because the first one I pretty much ignored.

I saw a quote from Louis C.K. recently. He said, “When a person tell you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

I love this! For several reasons, but first of all because several years ago, I was hurt by someone. I told them I was hurt and was told I was in the wrong for being hurt. That festered for a long time. I did the right thing. I took it to that person in private and was completely shot down and ignored. That’s not a great way to heal a damaged relationship. Reading this quote was incredibly freeing. It validated everything I felt back then as well as the lingering vestiges of hurt that still try to derail me.

Then, as if I needed one last indication, an opportunity fell into my lap last week to say something to someone that needed to be said. Normally, I’d just pass it by and tell myself not to rock the boat, “let it go.” 😉

But instead, I decided to be brave and speak up.

Guess what happened? The person heard me, apologized, and we moved on. It’s over.

All because I was brave.

So that’s why I’ve adopting it as my 2016 word. It’s kind of like the calendars that go on sale at this time of year. You know. They’re advertised as being 16-month calendars, to encourage you to buy now and use it for the rest of this year and all of next year. Except the extra four months from this year are all listed on one page. No pretty picture as a header. No space to write appointments. Basically, a bait and switch, in my not so humble opinion.

But I’m getting an early start on being brave and I plan to carry it from this year and throughout the next.

Have you started thinking about your word/phrase for next year yet? Or am I the only one?