Everything in my Type-A-Self is agitated that I’m writing a New Year Post on January 25.
Perfectionist Allison is highly embarrassed to submit something 24 days late but 2015 Allison gets a late pass because, well, cancer (I can play that card, right?).
I’ve been ruminating on this post for weeks and I have what I think are coherent thoughts, and so, I’m rebelling against my own anal retentive nature and publishing this anyway. Maybe 2016 Allison will be laid-back (but probably not).
A few years ago, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, I started picking one word that would define my year. During the year, I read books about the word, practice the word, and grow the word into my life rhythm. It’s a really beautiful, almost prophetic act that produces intentionality, reflection, and a even a new community to journey with throughout the year.
My word for 2014 was rest. I shake my head in disbelief that that was the word I chose for 2014. I was way off. There wasn’t much rest in 2014 at all. In a lot of ways, 2014 was a year of frantic, but more than that, it was a year of horrible.
If I had even the slightest inclination that I had control over anything at the start of 2014, it was squashed, stomped, and flushed (to be sure it was really dead) by the close of the calendar. Sure sure, I can find some silver linings. (While we’re talking about silver linings, can I share some insight from my storm cloud? Let the person living the storm find their own silver lining and celebrate their discovery but don’t try to find someone else’s silver lining – it’s less powerful and far less helpful). I’ve gotten way off topic.
2014 had loads of good, actually. But the second half was so shocking and awful that if we took an average of good and bad and added it all up and then divided it out, the year would still come up HORRIBLE (yes, that’s an official mathematical calculation). Give me a few years of perspective and I’ll likely rename it but right now 2014 is still too fresh.
In the last few weeks of 2014, I began to process what felt like a failure of a year of rest – a failure out of my control – but a failure nonetheless, and I started thinking about 2015. And after some thinking, I determined that 2015 didn’t need a word. I decided I was too overwhelmed to think of a word that would shape a year that was already feeling too unpredictable to predict.
I decided to let it go, and come back to the drawing board in 2016.
And just as I resolved no word for 2015, I started hearing this one word, almost in surround-sound, coming from varied and unexpected sources. I heard this word in kickboxing, in sermons, in therapy, in books, and in conversations with friends. And I started thinking, maybe this year, my word found me.
This word has actually been surfacing for months because I’m having a very hard time with this word; physically, emotionally, and even spiritually
This word is simple, elemental even. But these days, basic sounds refreshing.
This word is breathe.
The act of breathing has been nearly impossible for months. I feel as though the unexpected of 2014 punched the wind right out of me and I still can’t seem to catch my breath.
But I need to and I want to.
So 2015’s message will be simple: Breathe, Allison.
I want to feel like my whole self can breathe all the way in and all the way out. Regardless of the hard and unknown of 2015, I want to be rooted, established, unmoved, and free.
But I’m going to start with simple, mindful, and rhythmic: breathe in and breathe out.