One of my friends inspired me to choose a word for each year. 2020 word was health. I did indeed do a lot of work on my physical, mental, and emotional health.
I started last year strong with yoga, tennis, and strength class. The pandemic knocked tennis out, but home school also afforded me more time outside with the girls, and yes, tennis with them. B and I explored lots of new parks and went on lots of walks. This fall I took a hiking class. Though I did not lose much weight last year, I am physically stronger, which is important. I continue to have positive checkups with my regular doctor and oncologist. (I skipped cardiologist in 2020).
Mentally and emotionally I did some hard work too. Of course I continue therapy. I did have to quit coaching when the pandemic hit, because I did not have the bandwidth to learn how to do church differently, help with eLearning, and do all the things. One positive about the pandemic is how much it helped with perspective. I was able to make some difficult decisions to choose my emotional health, and I have no regrets.
2021 is starting out in the midst of the pandemic, with hope from the vaccine, but no date for when “Normalcy” may return. I was tempted to just keep health as my word, or modify to healing. Plenty of work left to do in all aspects of my health, of course, but won’t there always be more work to do in health? Instead, I decided that I might need to see what word I would receive. Maybe instead of choosing a word with intention, which is a fine plan, I should see what word would be given to me. I chose to listen instead of overthink.
The word for 2021 is PLAY. Ironically, it will be a lot of work to play. I am not good at play. Sure, I love board games, and have come to love puzzles. I don’t mind Legos or cars. I force myself to jump on the trampoline so that my girls collapse in giggles making fun of me. I have been so busy caring for others and doing what I thought was expected of me, that I forgot how to play. I lost the simple practice of knowing what I want and doing that. I do not seem to know what will make me happy. Being a stay-at-home mother affords me time in a different way than working part time. In many ways, I feel like I have less time. The days seem like a long list of shoulds that will never get done. In other ways, a mostly empty calendar gives me freedom of time I have never had before.
My therapist suggested I jump in a pile of leaves with my girls. The thought sounded revolting. I raked a pile of leaves. I jumped once. It did nothing for me. With the confines of pandemic life, I have both the freedom of time and the restrictions of place. I do not know how live into this new word other than taking it moment by moment. Looking inward, what do I want to do in this moment. Being fully present in this moment. Letting go of the shoulds, and instead focusing on what I might actually want to do is a mindshift.
In the brief days of trying to live into the word play, I learned that sometimes play comes when I do something that does not sound great at first. For example, I did not really want to play Just Dance, but it was pretty fun. I am grateful for all the family game nights since last March that have made me laugh hysterically until I sometimes literally need my rescue inhaler. My patient girls continue to invite me in to their play. I asked a few friends to help me. I welcome your suggestions, as long as you know that they might be read with an eye roll.
For 2021, I hope you find some time to play too.