I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions in the traditional sense of the word, although for a long time I would give something up for the year as an exercise in self control. (I once gave up French fries for the eternity that was 2005. Yeah. Shit got real.) Last year I resolved to finish building a house (done and done… by which I mean I got done building the damn thing, and then done moved out), and this year instead of giving something up or doing some outrageously huge project, I’ve been working hard at being grateful and living deliberately. So basically being a normal human being.
It turns out, however, I’m so 2009 with my non-resolution-resolutions, because this year it’s all the rage to just pick out your word for the year. I read about it here, then over here, then here. So, the part of my brain that insists upon playing the devil’s advocate says that you can take a year’s worth of experiences a look at them through the lens of any word and find a lesson in it. Like this: Brick. Last year I physically laid bricks, and built a house. A brick can be part of a foundation and I lost the foundation to the life I thought I was building and started the foundation for a new one. I once thought about hitting someone in the head with a brick (or brick-like object) but I totally didn’t, which means I have willpower that is strong like a brick. Oh my god, “brick” was such a great word for 2011. I mean… really, you can do this with anything.
But with that in mind, life is a complicated and messy thing, and part of the reason why I try to simplify with things like my 5 Project Lists is to keep all of those complications from preventing me from making progress. In that sense I think the one-word-non-resolution-resolution is a great thing. It gives you focus and a daily reminder of what you’re striving for.
Except I didn’t have a word.
Yes, I want to be grateful and deliberate instead of feeling frustrated and letting myself get swept up in the craziness of my life. But those words don’t encompass everything I’m striving for right now (I refuse to say “this year” because I’m really hoping not to go back to the crazy sawdust covered zombie in 2013). And then yesterday, as I was teetering around on one leg, trying to pull the other one up behind my head in a 100-degree room (birkim yoga, I both love you and hate you) I thought to myself, “man,I’ve got a lot of strength and flexibility here but absolutely no balance… and isn’t that a perfect metaphor for my life.” And then a bunch of sweat ran in my eyes and I fell over and may or may not have started a six person long human domino chain. But I did come out of that class with one bit of clarity about my word.
Physically, mentally, in my personal life, at work, with my projects, with my schedule. Everything. Because as a rule, I’m a person who goes all-in, all the time. When I used to practice martial arts, I didn’t just go to an hour class a few times a week. I went to three hours of classes every day, then taught classes, then traveled to compete in tournaments on the weekends. When I went back to school to get my MBA I didn’t take a couple of classes here or there, I signed up for an accelerated program where I basically worked all week and went to class all weekend for 14 months straight. When I decided to build a house… well, we all know how that went.
I’m sure I do it because intensely focusing on something for, well, not eternity, is challenging and exciting, while thinking about adding one more thing into my life long-term is just exhausting.
But I want to feel like I’m accomplishing a little bit of everything I like to do in my life each day instead of putting off a lot of the things I love so I can focus on one big project at a time, plus I also really want to be able to do that one-foot trick in yoga. Seriously.
So that’s my word. Balance. Not just for this year, but hopefully something that will become a part of my everyday life as I pick the projects I’m working on, the people I invite into my life, the choices I make, and the things I devote time to each day.