In the last few days of the year, I am reflecting on my journey through 2012.
At the beginning of the year, I chose “Ease” as my guiding word for the year. I also decided to “hang on and pretend it’s a plan” rather than making specific plans. Too much was in flux for me to commit to any specific goals.
How did I do?
Well, I hung on and improvised. And things moved forward.
And, I searched for ease where I could find it. Which wasn’t easy in the midst of all my life fluctuations. But, by having brought attention to the issue of ease in my life, I was able to choose ease in some very stressful situations. Not always, but often enough to feel like things were shifting. And, given that the hardest part of adult learning is often catching yourself doing something the old way with enough time to choose a different action, I would say that progress has been made.
I think of 2012 as a transitional year.
We moved. The new house is, as expected, proving to be a lot of work and fabulous at the same time. After spending the spring and summer focused on safety issues, learning how to maintain a pool, and making the backyard fun for the kids, we moved our work inside for the fall and winter. We are in the midst of the winter of wallpaper removal and room reallocation. By spring, the kids will all have new rooms and we will have moved on to the walls and floors of the bathrooms and laundry rooms. After that, there will be the master bedroom to redo completely and the rest of the interior of the house should get a new coat of paint. By 2014, we hope to have put our stamp on every room in the house. And despite the required work, I love the place.
The kids all changed schools. The two who find school fun and easily manageable moved from a private Montessori school to the local public school, and the two who were home-schooling also moved into the public school system. It would not be an exaggeration to say I spent the entire summer worrying about how things would go. And, it hasn’t been perfect, but some time in November, I realized it was working and I could start thinking about how to build my life on the assumption that public school would continue to be the organizing structure of our family life.
It has been a wild ride. We have new neighbours, new school friends, new commitments, and a new schedule. And it mostly works now. Still have some tweaking to do, but life with growing kids means there is always something in flux.
All I really planned to do this year was move and try school for the kids. I did those things.
In addition, I joined the board of a local community theatre, directed a play, blogged every day for a month in March, pushed my writing to a new level, and reminded myself to breathe deeply several times a day.
To wrap up this year, I intend to reflect on how my writing has progressed and what I want to grow into next year and how next year might shape up, including my guiding word for 2013, Courage.
How are you winding up the year? Are you taking time to review the past year and plan for the next, or are you just moving forward, taking life as it comes?
Last year, I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I chose to take incremental steps to change my practices. I set out to play more, write more, and move more. In retrospect, I made progress in all three areas.
This year, I know better than to make resolutions, or even to make much in the way of plans.
By choosing to move, I have invited a world of change and I do not know how things will shape up. The new house will inevitably take more work than I have estimated. The new environment will surely require modification of my routines. I cannot predict how much the transition will upset the children or the cats, but I will have to deal with whatever arises. And then, once we have adjusted to the new house somewhat, most, if not all, of the kids will change schools after the summer.
Watching this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, I was struck by a single line of dialogue. When asked by his companion what to do next as they whooshed through the time vortex in an alien escape pod, the Doctor advised, “Do what I do: hang on and pretend it’s a plan.”
And it struck me.
That is exactly what I need to do in 2012: hang on and pretend it’s a plan.
Last year taught me that I can make all the plans I want, but without the flexibility to drop or modify them, I will be courting trouble. This year, although I have directions I would like to go, setting specific goals feels like setting myself up to fail. But, and this is a big issue, I like to feel in control – and that’s where the “pretend it’s a plan” part is so brilliant. If I pretend it’s a plan, I might not freak out so much when I feel out of control.
Or maybe not. I won’t know until I get through the time vortex.
In the meantime, I found a guiding star.
Inspired by Christine Kane’s Resolution Revolution post (December, 2007), I have chosen a word to be a touchstone for the coming year, a word that will serve as grounding image, inspirational guide, and ongoing challenge, a word I hope will give me a stable focus and flexibility in the face of changing external environments.
My word for 2012 is ease.
I am aiming to ease my way through 2012, hanging on through the changes that are coming my way, and pretending it’s a plan if I start freaking out about my lack of control of outcomes.
Or at least, that’s the
I’m heading into 2012 with a motto and a word.
Check back here in a year and we’ll see how it went.