2019 Word Of The Year: CHANGE: To make or become different.
I didn’t know the Word Of The Year, AKA WOTY, was a thing until a couple of years ago. In the past, I couldn’t choose one word. This year, I’m all about changing EVERYTHING.
Change says a lot about where I am in life. It implies that I’m over and done with where I was. Yes. Past tense. I’m already on the adventure.
I figured I’d have to change everything to get a different outcome this year. You’ve seen the quote falsely attributed to Einstein, Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Well I’m not insane so I decided to go for it.
First a little backstory:
*Cue tiny violins*
I’ve been in a holding pattern for over five years.
When I found an old blog post from 2012 about mantras, I cried. I realized I hadn’t told myself my absolute favorite, which I used to say out loud almost daily, for several years.
You are so good at what you do.
Back then, I was in my second year of blogging. I had won a ton of awards between Salon.com and WordPress and felt encouraged by the results of my new writing endeavors. I figured by now, I’d have several books published and would be a super blogger.
High expectations can be deadly to hope. So can health setbacks.
In August of 2018, I had officially survived breast cancer for five years, but it wasn’t until two weeks ago that I was tested. *insert gulp here* Every appointment is nerve-wracking but absolutely necessary for continued health. No news is good news in that department, so, YAY for bionic boobs!
Ever since I was diagnosed, I’ve dealt with the worry of recurrence along with beating myself up for getting it in the first place. “A perfect storm of circumstances caused your cancer,” is what my oncologist said along with what I would guess was a reaction to soy. Only a guess. I’ll never know.
Being on an anti-cancer drug flatlined me for five years. Try living without estrogen. Men have estrogen. So do POST-menopausal women. It has taken my body a while, but my lighthearted self is returning, slowly. The butterflies have reawakened when looking forward to an exciting future after they lay dormant for a long time.
Everyone goes through the loss of loved ones and I’ve had more than my share. I suffered the guilt of not being able to revive my brother almost two years ago. It has taken a while to heal my heart.
I’ve also battled injuries and surgeries, blah blah blah. I don’t even want to think about it. I had taken myself out of tennis, which I love, and planned to start back in January only to pinch my meniscus over the holidays. GAH! I’m so over it. Can you believe my luck?
And speaking of luck, (my voice becomes a shout every time I proofread this out loud) I used to be super lucky and won all kinds of prizes along with a heli-ski trip. All of that went away too. Why?
I was never going to be that person.
Heavy setbacks dragged me down as I attempted to climb mountains. The weight impacted my outlook. I had a hard time hoping when my shoulders ached. Loaded down, I could only take baby steps.
That metaphor is waaaaaaay too overused and cliché.
How about an allegorical tale instead:
For a long time I felt like a rugby player with the ball. I could shrug off other players and score goals all week long. “YES! YAAAAAAYY! Woohoo! Woohooooooo!”
My team high-fived me and my heart soared. I felt unstoppable. I was unstoppable.
Then one day, an enormous opponent appeared. I couldn’t sprint away this time. Instead, the giant crushed me in his grip and threw me to the ground like a rag-doll.
That’s pretty cliché too.
Like a wimp who cared more about her hair and nails.
Now I’m being sexist. I could care about my hair and nails and still win at life. C’mon!
Like I’d never played the game before.
ANYWAY, the entire opposing team piled on top of the giant who sprawled on top of me. Their collective weight constricted my lungs. The smell of earth and sweaty uniforms became too much. I let go and quit fighting. I embraced defeat. And after a few years of setbacks, the worst of all emotions seeped inside me.
I felt sorry for myself. WHY MEEEEEEEEE??????
It was more like a whimper. gah. it’s so unfair. why me.
It’s hard to admit, but it’s true. Totally pathetic, right? I think it’s pathetic. You know it’s pathetic.
Woe is me IS NOT ME AT ALL.
So in the early hours of 2019, a small voice could be heard from under the massive pile of bodies created by setbacks and unfortunate events. It started out as a mumble in a random thought.
But, I’m a badass. I can’t feel sorry for myself.
That’s when I claimed my WOTY, Word Of The Year, CHANGE. The weight lessened somewhat. Together we began to push.
Too weird a visual? Just go with it.
As I made new choices, HOPE flickered. Soon, I could see light beyond the bodies of stinky rugby players. With the word Change and renewed Hope a new mantra emerged:
THIS IS YOUR YEAR
*Cue the song, HALLELUJAH*
As my new mantra began to pop into my head, I limped from the playing field into the forest where all kinds of exciting twists and turns lay ahead. It didn’t take long before my risk-taking started to result in new accomplishments.
So the moral of the story?
Don’t play rugby?
No, play the game but realize that no one goes through life winning. There will be tough losses too. And they may be so much worse than what average people go through. Allow yourself the time to heal even if it takes longer than you thought possible. Be aware that life will reach out to help you climb from of the crushing weight of your past in all kinds of surprising ways. Remember that your losses and setbacks are behind you or at least the crushing feeling won’t last forever. You’ll carry the scars inside and out but the super cool product of surviving? You’ll be stronger. When you’re ready, go for it.
AND CHANGE EVERYTHING
Now when I have a choice of doing the same old thing or something new, I take the harder path into the forest. The one that takes me deeper. All kinds of predators lurk in the shadows. It involves a ton more risk and I know I’ll stumble along the way. I already have, but that’s part of the adventure. No matter how hard or uncomfortable the task, I know I’ll look back on this year differently than 2018.
Instead of waking up to the song, I’ve Got You Babe, like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day, over and over and over again, each day presents new possibilities. When I make the harder choice, the one with risk, there’s also hope for a more positive or, at least, different outcome.
How do I know?
Because, I’m already in deep. Seven weeks into 2019, new routines and choices have created all kinds of exciting possibilities and results.
Is it hard?
Of course it’s hard! It’s easy and safe to stick to a boring routine. Taking risk and being uncomfortable are necessary for change and personal growth. Oh, yeah, and my other goal in the growth department is to gain five pounds of muscle by summer.
I’m not alone in this journey. Hope and Change have taken me by my hands. Change is on the left, I think, or is it on the right? Yeah, definitely on the right.
Change. Who knew a six letter word could be so powerful!
Have you chosen a WOTY? It’s not too late! Pick one and it might change your world!
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