I finished 2015 much like I did the years before it: seemingly crawling to the finish line, ready to kick the year to the curb. 2015 was challenging in all sorts of ways — some old and expected, others new and unanticipated.
I've seen this gif floating around The Internets:
And it always makes me think: Yep. That pretty much sums up my year.
Despite the bumps and bruises, I see good and growth and health in the past twelve months.
I'd chosen one word to focus on all year: wholehearted. And I see the ways I leaned into living more wholeheartedly, even when it was hard and even when it came with serious heartache.
Living and loving wholeheartedly led me back to a therapist's couch, to dig in deep and keep working on the brokenness that is me. It opened my heart to love again, to let people in, to dream about the future like I haven't in years, to cling to hope. It forced me to advocate for myself, to risk vulnerably in relationships, to hold my heart in my hands and extend it to another, without knowing what they might do with it. It's what elbowed me to pursue a new treatment for my heart condition and what nudged me to get back on antidepressants. It's the reason I've cried so much this year; it's also the reason I've laughed so much this year. I've lived and I've loved and I've lost, and I've done it all with more wholeheartedness than ever before.
So even though I've been knocked down a time or two (or twelve), I know I am a whole lot stronger and healthier today than I was a year ago.
And maybe that's the best I can ever hope for out of a year.
Maybe that's more than enough.
We find ourselves here again now, in the beginning moments of a brand new year.
And I can't help but wish there was something magical about January 1st.
I wish that things would be better/different/new simply because we've crossed into 2016. But sadly, life doesn't work that way. Challenges don't begin and end with the calendar; heartsoreness doesn't dissipate at midnight amid the kisses and fireworks and shouts of "Happy New Year!"
Yet even I, with my jaded cynicism, can admit to there being something significant about the new calendar year.
Even if it's just a placebo effect, there is an undeniable opportunity to start fresh. To begin again. To embrace new mercies. To get up from the mat, brush myself off, and determine to try again.
So that a year from now I can say I'm stronger and healthier than I am today.
I don't start this year with a long list of goals or resolutions — my own history has proven that those don't work for me. I lose sight too quickly, I fall short too fast, I forget my list in 4 weeks (if that), and ultimately end up feeling like a failure.
No lists for me. All I've got in my pocket as I begin this new year is one word.
This year I'm choosing to live with more badassery. It's a continuation of my wholehearted journey — just with more spunk, boldness, and grit. I'm learning to value myself, to figure out what I want and go after it, to not be swayed by others' opinions, to live all-in more deliberately and vulnerably...
Badassery. I'm thrilled/terrified to see where this word leads me and how it shapes me.
To be honest, I've been petrified to even say it out loud on The Interwebs. Because... @$$. And because... judgey people. And because... I care far too much what people think. The irony isn't lost on me: It's taking badassery to declare badassery as my word for the year. So I'm stepping up to the plate.
The adventure has begun. Here goes...everything.
What about you?
Whether you feel like you're starting 2016 from a position of strength or weakness, only good can come from choosing now to lean into this year with intentionality.
Who do you want to be? What do you want to focus on?
Choose one word and join me on the One Word 365 journey this year.
What's your One Word for 2016?
You can read more about the movement, sign up, and find others
with your word and in your region on the website: OneWord365.com.
A version of this post was originally published at A Life Overseas. If you live or have lived abroad, or know someone who does, I think you'll really enjoy this online community. Be sure to check them out!