I have sat down to write so many personal posts, only to click “move to trash” and shut the laptop. I always figure, meh, who cares? Or I start to hate what I write. Or I get distracted and lose my train of thought. Well, not today! I’ve wanted to transition my blog into one that includes more personal content, so now is as good a time as any to begin.
Last year was a heckuva year, and what got me through it was a word that I had decided, late in 2012 or early in 2013, was what I most needed in my life: Peace. Around the same time, I became pregnant with our youngest. It was no mistake that I wanted to reset, recenter, focus on what was most important, and just be calm. I had spent too long feeling stressed, busy, angry, confused, and “failing” in every aspect of my life (I know I wasn’t failing, but if you know the feeling, you know how really difficult it is to break free). If it weren’t for the peace I was always seeking, I would have lost my mind! It was the year that I most needed it. It is still an idea that I hold close to my heart, dare I say: a mantra? Can a mantra be one word? Shows what I know! Anyway, peace is something I could probably tattoo on my forehead, it is so essential every day.
I wasn’t even necessarily doing the One Word 365 Project, like my friend Katie has for a couple of years. However, this year I want to be more intentional about it, and pick another word! Although, I feel like “peace” was a no-brainer in my case, I needed it so badly, and the idea was calling out to me. Some say the word chooses you, as an epiphany, or a sign from wherever you think signs come from. Well, the word itself didn’t show up as a vision in a dream or on a billboard or even in a Bible verse… but I have thought out what I need this year (and for the rest of my life), and that is strength. So, I’m jumping on the One Word 365 bandwagon (22 days late).
: the quality or state of being physically strong
: the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force
: the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way
So, why strength? Ever since Alice was born, I have been feeling like life is really good, but really tough! My days aren’t easy (I’m not complaining, please), and my various roles as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, business owner, and everything in between really push me to my limits. To deal with tough days, I need to be tough right back! I am also realizing that this year I turn 33, and my body is starting to show signs of my complacency. I have never struggled with my weight, and I am lucky also, that after each of my three children were born, all the baby weight and then some came off immediately, with zero effort – so I have never felt physically motivated. In fact, there were times when my weight dropped so low with no diet or exercise, that I was worried about how far it would go, or if something was wrong. I have never had to work to stay (what I considered to be) in shape. However, my calf muscles are nil, my abs are not defined, my butt is, well… you get the idea, and yesterday Henry squeezed the spot just above my knee and said, “Squishy!” It really wouldn’t take much effort for me to see a big difference. I could be stronger physically, and I can demonstrate strength and discipline to myself (and my loved ones) by taking better care of my body. It’s easy to sit on the couch and be soft-skinny, it takes strength and will power to get up and do 50 squats and 100 jumping jacks. Really, how long does that take? A few minutes? Go for a run, burn off some stress, build a stronger heart… Sounds like maybe my mind has been just as weak as my squishy legs! I’m better than that.
I also need strength daily, to stop myself from losing patience with the kids. To get out of bed earlier and be productive. To be loving and kind even if I’m having a rough day. I need strength to break bad habits. I need strength to say no to another drink. I need strength to skip the mid-afternoon chips and salsa binge. I need strength to do more pushups than I ever have (because for the longest time I have resigned to the notion that “I just can’t do pushups”, but today I have done 50). I need strength to be happy and healthy for myself and my family. I want to be admirable and in control of my actions and emotions. I want to be able to deal with the everyday assault of a very demanding life, without turning to the habitual escapes of social media, food, alcohol, yelling, laziness… quitting. I want to be able wake up in the morning each day without wondering what is going to cause me to break down this time, because something always does. I want to be able to stand strong in the face of stormy days to come, and there will be storms! I spent a long time feeling stressed, then it stopped, and I found peace. 2013 was actually the year I felt the happiest I can remember in a long, long time, in spite of a lot of struggles and change. Now it’s time to move forward, to grow, and to build. Of all the little resolutions I tossed around in my mind over the past few weeks, the common thread among them in order to succeed is strength. Inner strength, outer strength. So, that’s the word I’m tucking under my soon-to-be toned arm.