Mom Adopts Word for 2018 — Simplify
This year, spend more time with family and friends, put money toward experiences rather than things, and look for opportunities to simplify
As another year begins, I find myself ready to choose a new word to focus on in 2018. I began the practice of adopting a word for the upcoming year some time ago. I have found it to be very useful in helping me to focus my energy as life seems to always pull me in many directions.
This year I struggled to choose just one word. Usually they either show up in a flash of inspiration, or I finally notice them lurking in every corner of my life. I’ve been paying better attention to what is going on in my life, and I was still having difficulty finding inspiration. I’m holding on to a lot of things that are cluttering my world, both personally and professionally, and once again it was there, in that truth, that I finally found my answer. My word for 2018 is simplify.
I think I resisted it a bit because I felt like I made a huge effort this holiday to simplify, and every time I put forth the effort it backfired on me. Letting go isn’t easy for me. I know if I do something or control something then it will be done as I want it to be. Professionally, I’ve always been pretty good at letting people assist me, when needed. It is much harder for me personally. Knowing this reinforced my choice.
As for the personal, I have a confession. You know when you go to a restaurant with your kids, and they bring you a pack of three or four crayons for them to use while you wait for your food? Well, I bring those home. Every. Single. Time. I can’t handle the thought of them being thrown away. I have an entire drawer of crayons in my house, that NEVER get touched. My son always tells me “I’m not really artsy Mom," yet the crayons stay. I just can’t throw them away.
I have this belief that everything deserves a home. There is someone out there who can find a use for what you don’t want. But finding a home for those things requires effort that I often don’t have. This year, the crayon drawer is finally going to be emptied. In truth, it’s probably going to be donated to The Scrap Exchange here in Durham, which is an amazing place that will take your unwanted items and find good homes for them with people who will sincerely appreciate having them.
I realize my physical holding-on can’t change overnight, but I’m committed to chipping away at it. Less clutter in my surroundings always make me feel more peaceful and ready to tackle projects. Last winter, while it snowed in for several days, my husband convinced me to clean out the kitchen. It was hard for me to let go of those 18 bags, but it felt freeing afterwards. While I haven’t missed a single item that left, I have enjoyed the extra space that this created in the kitchen. I will keep the things I love or need and get rid of the things I’m holding onto in case I might need them in the future. I’ve got a whole bunch of those.
As for the professional, last year I took the first steps by asking to be reassigned to a department that better fit my natural skills and talents. The sheer relief of no longer doing a job I didn’t enjoy has helped me immensely. Instead of filling a role that didn’t fulfill me, I am now able to simply focus on one that does. Even though I was successful and learned a great deal in my previous role, I am happier now because I’m doing what I’m passionate about.
The more I commit to simplifying my life, the more convinced I am of its benefits. I’m looking forward to lessening my things, to lightening my load, and focusing my time and attention on what truly matters: Spending more time with family and friends, putting money toward experiences rather than things, doing more meaningful work and making new memories.