Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014: A Year to RELAX

I considered several different possibilities for my Word for the Year:  PURPOSE, INTENTION, ENERGIZE and ONWARD all made the short list.  I have ended up with an odd choice, considering these other options.  I have decided that my Word for the Year will be RELAX.  When I think of this word, I think of the lesson from the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare:  Slow and steady wins the race.  It's time to cut the bustle, cut the "much ado about nothing," cut the running around in circles.
In a somewhat paradoxical way, I think that when I RELAX, I actually will become more productive.

Just for an example:  I have become aware of how much time each day I fritter away on tidying up.  I sweep a floor, put a few dishes in the dishwasher, wipe off a counter, put away a stray sweater upstairs, clear kids' trinkets off the top of a bookcase, dust a shelf, clear away some papers, stow some shoes.  By that time, there are usually some new crumbs on the floor, and the circuit is likely to begin again!  When I do manage to tidy the place into a semblance of "neat", it is quickly undone when the kids and I return from an errand or my husband comes in from work.  Suddenly, there are coats to hang, gloves and hats to return to their places, shoes to stow, lunch bags to empty and return to the cupboard, stray items on the countertop.  That sets me into a tidying circuit once again.  All day long:  tidy, tidy, tidy. 

Meanwhile, I am not getting any writing done, any crafts made, any artwork attempted. 

To RELAX is not to do nothing.  To RELAX is to let go of a perfectionism that never yields perfection, a tendency to judge myself that only causes anxiety, a habit of worrying how things look to other people that only sends me scurrying around the house, or scurrying around my life, a little like a chicken with her head cut off.  My plan to RELAX involves taking hold of what I consider THE BETTER THINGS. 

After all, don't I RELAX every evening?  Well, the evening is often frittered away in that way so many of us have--check my email account one more time to see if a comment on my blog has come in, scroll through Facebook and make a few comments, check on Pinterest and pin for an hour before I know it, check back to the email...maybe there is a comment now, check back on Facebook to see if anyone has commented on my comments.

Meanwhile, I am not getting any writing done, any crafts made, any artwork attempted.

I've also noticed that I tend to do a lot for my children, when they could be doing more things for themselves.  One daughter is 6, while the other will be 5 in February.  While that's still pretty little, it is also prime time to start developing some independence.  "Can you put on my socks?"  "Can you get me some white paper?"  "Are these shoes on the right feet?"  "Where is my _____ ?"  "Can I have a _____ ?"

Meanwhile, I am not getting any writing done, any crafts made, any artwork attempted. 

I picked the word RELAX in the midst of listing a page full of resolutions for the new year.  I still think that I can attain many of the goals I have in mind, but only if I RELAX into them instead of creating anxiety-driven checklists for perfection.  I will jog, eat healthfully, write, journal, craft, create art, play with my children, encourage their independence, have date nights with my husband, teach Sunday school, attend Bible study, spend time each day with my prayer journal, keep in touch with my family and friends, go out for Girls' Nights, serve my church and my surrounding communities, blog, exchange mail art, participate in online challenges and courses, keep the house reasonably clean, grocery shop and cook, keep up with the laundry, read books, love on my 16-year-old cat who may or may not be long for this world.

How can I possibly do all of these things?  Slow and steady wins the race! 

Come RELAX with me in 2014!  There is so much to do....

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If you would like to read more about selecting a word for the year, check out Ali Edward's blog post about her concept of One Little Word, which set off this word-choosing craze a few years ago. 

12 comments:

Jen Ward said...

Amen! I'm right there with you! Fantastic reflection to begin the new year.

Jen Ward said...

Amen! I'm right there with you! Fantastic reflection to begin the new year.

TheSnailMailer said...

Good write up! I think we can make these words bend to where we see ourselves at the end of the year. I am still sticking to a Yes year.

Janet said...

It seems to be the perfect word for you. I can relate to the frittering away of time. I don't have small children at home but I can still just putter around and not accomplish much.

Anne said...

Wow! I read your last paragraph and by the end I was breathing faster, reading faster, and about to jump from the chair to DO something. RELAX is a good word and you had some great ideas on what that means. Harmony was my word last year and I think focusing on it helped me handle the year's challenges. This year I've chosen AUTHENTIC. Meaning that whatever choices I make, they are going to be necessary, real, and authentic to me as a person.

scrapwordsmom said...

I think you have a great Word...one i had never thought of. I too fritter away my time on tidying up...when all it does is accomplish nearly nothing and added stress...cause it takes no time for it to be a mess again. That's why I have been so adament to organize and get rid of stuff before the new year even started. Once I did that I knew I would have my mind more clear and I do. I am hoping to sort through more stuff at a later time...for now going to maintain and create and MOVE towards my physical and artistic goals!! Here's to a fab 2014!!!

VivJM said...

A great choice Andria. I know exactly what you mean about the time frittering, and tidying with small children about - aaargggh! Happy New Year to you xx

Joyfulploys said...

Good post! I didn't pick a word for the new year. I like the word relax that you chose and way you explain that it works for you. Letting go of perfectionism is one of my goals...I keep trying :)
Mary

Maria Ontiveros said...

That's a great word, and I really appreciate your thought process in choosing it. I chose Illuminate, and i'm really happy with it.
Rind

Gale said...

Perfect words to carry through the new year - Relax, Breathe, Enjoy life, thanks for reminding me.

Parabolic Muse said...

Okay, this is one of the best posts ever, and the absolute BEST choice of words of the year I've seen!

Mine is very close to this one, and it's a two-word word: Slow Down. I am slowing down. And considering all the bitching I've done in the past about not having enough time, it's going to be just what the doctor ordered.

Melody said...

Hhhhmmmmm~ I think my word will be balance. My job, my free time, chores, and getting enough sleep, not to mention I really need it when I ride my pony!
It's a fine line to make it all happen, and be happy too...