A Magical 2019

I’ve been choosing a word of the year for many, many years, now. In all that time, I’ve never really struggled when picking a word. I’ve had years where I had too many words, years when a word wouldn’t leave me alone even though I didn’t really want to choose it, years when the new word was so loud that I had to listen to it even before the new year began. Usually my new word shows up around the summer. Sometimes earlier and sometimes by September.

This year, no matter what I tried, words were not coming to me. Everything I thought of was off. I couldn’t connect with any of the words. I would hold on to one for a few days and then it would just be meh. The longest I held on to was the word “yes” which I almost picked but it just wasn’t sitting right with me, so after getting really frustrated, I finally decided to project manage the whole process. I made a spreadsheet, I wrote about how each word made me feel, the meaning of each word, and other words like it. 

Here are all the words I considered:

  • Joy
  • full
  • alive
  • content
  • ease
  • yes
  • magic
  • open
  • light
  • color
  • expand
  • adventure
  • connect
  • design
  • fresh
  • embrace
  • wonder
  • celebrate
  • sculpt
  • engaged
  • go!
  • discover

As I went through the process, I realized I was seeking three basic feelings: contentment, adventure, and acceptance/peace. I wanted a word that was both passive and active, which is pretty rare. I usually alternate between passive (present) and active (brave) words. Words that encourage me to do things and words that encourage me to be things. Next year, I wanted both. I felt like I needed both. 

After putting together the spreadsheet, it became clear that the winner was: magic. It was the only word that had all the qualities I was seeking. It spoke to me. I am always cautious to not pick something aspirational. It needs to be inspiring but not something that can make me feel bad. Last year’s word had a little bit more of that than I would have liked. Currently, magic is not feeling that way so I am going to hope it does better for me. 

Here are the three major parts of the word magic for me:

Seeing the Magic: This is the part of the word that connects with being content. Seeing all the magic that already exists in my life, practicing gratitude, mindfulness, capturing our stores, taking photos, and most importantly paying attention. Noticing the magic that’s already there. 

Making Magic: This is the part of the word that connects with adventure/awe/wonder. Making more magic in my life. Taking adventures, saying yes to things that make me come alive, taking chances, pushing boundaries, going out to nature more, taking vacation, laughing together. Celebrating. 

The Magic of Me: And finally what might be the most striving-like part of my word: this is the year I really want to start embracing who I am. I have spent 45 years striving (or hustling for worthiness as Brene Brown would say.) I spent 45 years worrying about my looks, my weight, about being good enough, about making others happy, about being enough. I worried that I wasn’t smart enough, that I was too smart, that I wasn’t social enough, that I talked too much, that I don’t have enough friends, that I don’t do enough, that I don’t cook. That I am messy. I worried and worried and worried. I am so tired of worrying. I am so tired of not being good enough. I am so tired of hiding. So my plan for 2019 is to spend as much time as possible paying attention to what makes me magical. What I already do right. Where I already am good enough. Noticing all the tapes in my head and working on each of them as much as I can. I am unwilling to spend the next 45 years being too scared to wear bathing suits. I want to step into my own life and really live all of my days. I am at least halfway through my life. I want to spend the second half appreciating who I am.

So these are the reasons I picked magic.

I really liked the list I made last year so here are a few other aspects of magic for me:

  1. Show Up: This is rule #1: You must show up. Show up for your people. Show up at the gym. Show up for yourself. Show up at work. Show up at the school. Show up at a social event. Show up.
  2. Pay Attention: Life is magical. Pay attention to all the small things and the big things. Magical moments happen every single day. You just have to pay attention.
  3. Be Intentional: Be intentional about how you live your moments. Be willing to walk away from things. From people. From books. From classes. From decisions. What are you saying no to when you say yes to this?
  4. Say Yes: Say yes more. Take chances. Go on adventures. Meet new people. Take risks. Choose wonder. Choose to embrace new experiences. 
  5. Celebrate: Pause to celebrate all the moments. Make a big deal of small things. Make a big deal of big things. Celebrate milestones. Celebrate your people. Celebrate endings. Celebrate beginnings. Take time to celebrate. 
  6. Be Kinder: Be kinder than you think you can be. Nothing matters more.
  7. Breathe: Take a moment to breathe. Hear to your thoughts. Thank them and then let them go. Breathe two more times. And then respond. 
  8. Yes You Can: You are amazing. You have proven again and again that you can do anything you set your mind to. So have faith in yourself. Work hard. Work smart. Do it for you. Do what you decide you want to. Keep at it. You can do it.

So there we go. Here’s to a magical 2019!

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