Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In Which I Hop Right On That Bandwagon

There's a take on the idea of the New Year's resolution that is very popular in Blogland, or at least when it comes to the blog circles I run in. The idea is to pick a word instead of a resolution. Just one word, meant to represent your goals and your life for the upcoming year.

Natalie over at Natalie Creates has done it a few years in a row - you can see her post on it here. I've also seen it making the rounds on several other blogs I regularly read.

It seems like the popular word for this year is "present" or "presence" - the idea of really being in the moments of your life. With our constant social media connections and ever-present phones, we're always pushing our brains to be fifteen places at once, taking pictures of a memory instead of actually creating it.

"Presence" seems like a good word, but it just didn't sing to me.

But I'm a sucker for the kind of bandwagon that lets you get creative, so I figured I'd hop on it myself.

My word for 2016 will be...

Nurture, I think, just works for what I've been thinking about. It's a verb, but not the most active one; you can nurture without leaving home, and that's kind of what I'm thinking about.

I can't really emphasize enough how important it is to pick a word that lets me stop being indescribably lazy step by step instead of expecting me to suddenly have energy and motivation all at once.

In 2016, I want to work harder at taking good care of myself, my house, our garden, my family, even the dog. It's easy to let a lot of that go. I've been up to my elbows in busy and by the time Audra goes to bed, hardly have the energy to sweep the kitchen floor, let alone the kind of serious care a house requires.

So in 2016, I want to start by nurturing myself.

I want to work harder at getting some rest, finishing the books I pick up to read. I'm trying to focus more intently on wearing clothes that I really love, not just getting through the day in an old baggy T-shirt that might be comfortable, but I don't feel particularly good in. I want to go out to eat less often and eat healthier food at home. I want to pick recipes out of cookbooks to try something new. I want to drink less coffee, because whether or not I'm willing to admit it, there actually is such a thing as too much coffee. I want to focus on being more frugal, because I'm prone to nickel and diming myself out of every extra penny.

I want to nurture my house.

There's an extent to which we still live like renters. We've only really painted the one wall, our furniture is slapdash hand-me-downs. I never seem to be able to prioritize building a home that looks like we own it. I need new kitchen rugs but it seems like such a strange thing to spend $25 on when I could go buy books or coffee instead, and therein lies the root of our home issues. Everything needs organized, and before that it needs cleaned. Audra's toys are taking over literally every square inch. I need to reign the chaos in. I am not exactly what you call a natural housekeeper - I'd usually rather play video games than dust or wipe up the countertops - but I'm committed to trying a little harder this year.

I'm currently picking away at a bookshelf reorganization. After that, I want to tackle the kitchen in general. Maybe I'll even remember how badly I want to do this for more than a week or so this time.

I want to nurture our garden.

Our foray into gardening last year started out strong but sort of fell apart towards the end - we just weren't putting the effort into the garden that we should have, and it led our early promising tomato and jalapeno harvests to turn somewhat lackluster later on. Also, we kiiiiiiiinda let the okra just sort of grow wild, and I'm not going to be surprised if we begin next spring with like fifteen semi-wild okra plants showing up at random.

This year, I've bought a gorgeous planting calendar and I'm going to make a bigger effort to not just run out to Home Depot to pick up random plants and seeds, but to really plan things out and purchase heirloom vegetable and fruit seeds that let us grow varieties of food you can't just pick up at Walmart.

I want to nurture my family.

I take a lot of photos of Audra. The problem is, it's been proven that taking photos of a moment actually makes it harder for us to impress the memory of that moment into our minds. We rely on those tangible things we can hold to recall details, rather than keeping that memory within us. This year, I'm going to work harder on being there with Audra, even when she refuses to stop playing in the bathtub and seriously kid, how long am I expected to be interested in you splashing? The answer is exactly as long as it takes before you don't want me in there anymore. I plan to really think about the way it feels when she reaches up her hands for a hug, or the way she tucks her head under my chin early in the morning.

I want this year to have more date nights with Jason, where the two of us can remember when it meant to be just you and me and not we three. Maybe we'll bond over gardening or something, who knows. Things could get crazy exciting over here.

In 2015, for both wonderful and terrible reasons, I saw a lot more of my immediate and extended family than I normally do, for how far away we live. Between my brother's wedding in April, our usual Fourth of July visit, Audra's birthday in August, everything we had to do for Dad in September, my mom visiting for Thanksgiving and then our trip to Illinois for Christmas, I had so. much. family time compared to what I've gotten used to. Everything with Dad made it so clear how much I've taken for granted. So in 2016, I'd like to work harder on maximizing the connection and contact I do usually get. I haven't decided how I'll do that yet, since odds are good we won't be around my family so often this year. But it's definitely on my list.

I want to nurture my dog.

The problem with toddlers (and babies in general) is that they tend to steal time from everything else. Indy isn't really getting the attention he deserves, at least when it comes to getting him outside to exercise regularly. He's a dog that deserves a good long game of fetch or weekend walks on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and we just haven't been providing. I want to make a bigger effort to be his person this year (even if Jason is his actual favorite person).

Nurture seems like a good all-encompassing word for what I'd like to accomplish this year... which is, essentially, to spend a little more time making my world work, top to bottom.

Have you picked a "one word" for your year? What is it? I'm obviously vaguely obsessed right now with seeing what everyone else has chosen.

Although, after a night spent wrestling a toddler who is very much testing her independence and how quickly she can commit suicide by jumping backwards off the couch, I'm kind of thinking my word for 2016 should be "beer", because I'm going to need a lot of it to get through the Overwhelming Ones.


  1. Nurture is a great word! I ended up choosing 'motivation' for my word! I also made goals for myself because I can't resist!

    1. I like motivation!

      I like goals, too, but I never stick with them! I always go too big on my goals and it all falls apart. Hopefully this sort of nebulous "be better at something" works out more in my favor.

  2. I have totally hopped on the bandwagon as well, my word of the year is "Joy". For me this not only means seeing the joy in my life but also bringing joy to others and doing things that bring me joy. My hope is as things come up during the year I can find the joy in the chaos.

    1. Love it! I thought about 'joy', but ended up not going with it. But the idea of finding joy in the life I'm living definitely factors in to what I'm trying to do.

  3. I love the way you apply your word to every area of your life, letting it touch all the places you know need work!

  4. I love the way you apply your word to every area of your life, letting it touch all the places you know need work!

  5. Mine is 'improvement.' This year I want to improve on myself, my surrounds, my quality of life, and even imply it to my hobbies. Every step is an improvement on the old way so it can be better for me and those I care about.


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