It has been my tradition already for several years to start the new year in this blog by writing about my One Word for the year. This year is no different. Before I tell you all about it though, let me share a snippet of what 2020 was like for me and my family.
The Year That Was 2020
Like the rest of the world, our family has been dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully, none of us in our family have been sick with it. The biggest negative effect it has on us is that we’re stuck at home most of the time.
Kids here in the country are not allowed to go anywhere. This is challenging for us because we live in an apartment with no garden or any outdoor area where our kids can run around and play.
For the most part, I think we were able to manage the changes well though. Hubby has transitioned to working from home 2 years ago. I’ve been doing so for the past 8 years, so that wasn’t really affected.
This year became more hectic work-wise for me though because I decided to accept more clients. I also took several courses throughout the year and made a shift in my career. This is something that I’m truly thankful for. To be honest though, it was also a source of stress.
We’ve also been homeschooling for 7 years, but this past year we decided to do independent homeschooling for our two youngest kids. It’s all well and good but we haven’t been able to take the kids out for field trips because of the pandemic. They also haven’t been able to attend any outside of the house co-op activities.
Aside from these, the only other major change for us this past year was our second daughter choosing to come back to stay with us for good. She was living at her dad’s house, together with our eldest daughter, for the past 6 years. Since she’s still enrolled in a regular school and is on her last year in high school, she had to follow their online schooling program. That in itself is truly a challenge, add to the fact that I’m also helping her manage the tedious task of applying for college.
All in all, we’ve been lucky that 2020 wasn’t as terrible for us compared to others. But with everything new that we had going on at home, I felt like I was constantly rushing to do one thing after another. Sometimes I felt like there wasn’t enough time to do everything I wanted to do in one day. Honestly, 2020 feels like such a blur to me now…. which brings me to my One Word for 2021.
My One Word for 2021
I’ve been so busy that I honestly didn’t think about my One Word until it was already December. I thought of a few different choices and initially settled on one only to scrap the idea the next day because it just didn’t feel right.
Then one day, a few days before the new year, I found myself browsing my Kindle app for books I’d read in 2020. I came upon one of my favorite reads. It’s a book by Durenda Wilson called The Unhurried Homeschooler, and instantly found the word that felt right for me – UNHURRIED.
The word resonated with me because I’ve been feeling so exhausted with all the hustling I’ve been doing. Last year, my word was RECLAIM. I wanted to reclaim who I was before I started losing myself these past few years and I think I was successful with that. Unfortunately though, all that reclaiming came with all the hustling too – being wife and mom, housekeeping, homeschooling, working, studying, and transitioning to a new phase in my career.
I have become too busy to the point where I’m saying ‘no’ to playing with my kids. I’ve become too busy to enjoy doing the things I love to do for myself. I’ve been rushing to do one activity to the next to the point where I’m always telling my kids to ‘hurry up’ and it feels terrible.
While I’m extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of this past year, and while I’m also so proud of myself for all that I’ve been able to accomplish, I also think it’s time to step back a little.
So, I was thinking about the word UNHURRIED and it reminded me of this article I read in an Oprah magazine back in 2007. It’s called The One Who Is Not Busy by Norman Fischer. He shared a story about two monks, which I’m not gonna go into here, but I will share the lesson I learned. Fischer goes:
Most of us judge how busy we are by how much we have to do. When there are too many things to do, we think we’re busy, and when there isn’t much to do, it feels like we’re not busy at all. But in fact, we can feel busy when there isn’t that much to do, and we can feel relaxed even when there’s a lot going on. The states of ‘busy’ and ‘not busy’ aren’t defined by how many things there are to do. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as multitasking: the brain can tend to only one thing at a time. Being too busy or not being busy is an interpretation of our activity. Busyness is a state of mind, not a fact. No matter how much or how little we’re doing, we’re always just doing what we’re doing, simply living this one moment of our lives.
I learned that “the one who is not busy” part of us is just always there. We just need to let it out every so often and especially when we are feeling overwhelmed and that is what I want to do this year.
I aim to no longer feel like I’m a prisoner of time, of my desires, of my long list of to-do’s, and of my life. If there’s anything that 2020 has reminded me, it’s that time is fleeting. All we really have is today – right now. I refuse to spend the time that I have constantly in a rush.
That doesn’t mean I’m not going to pay attention to deadlines or that I’m just going to lie around doing nothing. It just means not listing down too many things on my to-do list. It means saying “no” to the hustle culture and to things not important and being mindful and deliberate on how I spend my time instead.
UNHURRIED – just saying the word in my head makes me feel relaxed already.
So, cheers to all of us for 2021!!!! Let’s hope I will be able to truly live an unhurried life this year and the years to come.
What’s your One Word for 2021?