The trend seems to be to have a “word of the year” for the past few years now. I have never really been too interested in that, but two words really stuck out to me lately and the simplicity of focusing on words instead of many goals seems more fitting for my life right now.
The first is joy.
I got my latest planner and on the front, it reads “Today I choose joy.” Before I even saw the inside, I knew it was “the one” for me (Trust me, the planner and I have to click, you see). Truthfully, my life has been missing joy for a long time. Whether it’s my fault or a result of how life events have unfolded, joy has not been a thing for me lately.
What do I want joy to be for me or look like in my life? I want to focus on it, harvest it, and let it happen. I have to stop over-analyzing things like, should I blog or should I not blog? Who cares. I just need to enjoy whatever choice I make.
I am not a naturally positive, glass-half-full kind of person, so this won’t come naturally to me. I don’t expect joy to land in my lap and be easy. But I also think sometimes I try too hard to find joy or “make” joy out of my life, that it never happens. I also need to learn to be content with less or less than ideal to really find and embrace that joy.
Like the saying goes, life doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed. I want to enjoy my kids despite the mess or tantrums. I want to enjoy my house even when it looks like anything but a Pinterest perfect vision of a home. I want to enjoy how I spend my time and really start choosing what to focus on instead of just ending up focusing on things and then wondering how I got there.
Maybe this is an odd choice or not the most inspirational word for a word of the year. But it’s very meaningful for me right now. Last year felt like I had no boundaries. I let other people decide a lot of things for me because I didn’t want to disappoint them or say no. I do think I learned some lessons in saying no last year, but I still didn’t really embrace a change in my life by saying no more.
What this looks like for me: I see an event invite from my MOPs group that sure, sounds good at the time, but I probably don’t have time for. I RSVP that I can go and even put it on my planner, but also forget I have to find a baby sitter for this event. I didn’t consider this first and then stress about it. It’s not even something I really want to do but I’m already having guilt about then backing out because I RSVPd. Meanwhile, NO ONE CARES.
Another scenario: someone I’ve never even met messages me for a photo session. I tell them I am already booked for the month. Then I wonder if maybe I could squeeze them in and make it work. Truthfully, I can always add more sessions, but I tell people I am booked because I don’t end up having the time to edit photos. Do I eventually get things done? Of course. They’re paying clients. I make it work.
But no one sees the frantic me that can barely handle the late night editing in conjunction with a baby still waking me up a few times a night. It’s a mess that I just need to learn to say no to. When I get to my max number of sessions for a month, that’s it. I just have to stop over-scheduling myself so I can produce better work and have a better work/life balance.
Overall, I just want to set boundaries for what I do and don’t do.
What I will do is…
- plan my schedule first
- prioritize what brings me joy
- say no
- let go of guilt and trust myself
What I won’t do is…
- RSVP for every event that comes my way
- say yes on a whim when I don’t feel 100% positive of the decision
- over-schedule myself and my kids with activities
- worry about disappointing people, especially people I owe nothing to
In my heart, I know I need boundaries. It’s easy to feel guilty for prioritizing myself or guarding my schedule so much. Because what about impromptu play dates? What about some spontaneity? Will those things never happen? No. But people with goals don’t reach them by always turning down their own appointments for success.
This year, I hope to…
- train for and run another half marathon, possibly another full marathon too
- continue running my photography business in the direction I desire
- run a second business for typewritten prints that I just started
- meal plan, eat healthy, and learn to use my Instant Pot
- spend quality time with my kids and start some intentional pre-school actives with Claire
None of those things are going to happen on accident. They’re going to happen with intention. And I fully know I need to set my boundaries to get there.
I feel like after last year being disappointing to me and just all over the place, I needed these words to have a little come to Jesus talk with myself (and actual Jesus) to figure out how to make this a different and better year.
It will be hard, but I’m ready to have a life that’s more my own and more enjoyable. And that will be more than worth it. My hope is that by setting boundaries that are reasonable, I can actually start enjoying my life because it’s not all over the place!
Questions for You:
- Did you choose a word of the year?
- Do you struggle with setting boundaries or worrying about everyone else?