Picking a word for the entire year is hard. My word for 2017 was “peace” as a result of a chaotic 2016. I set out to be more intentional with my time and to eliminate anything and everything that didn’t bring peace to my life.
Unexpectedly, this led me on a journey of simplification in many areas of my life. The phrase “less but better” resounded in my head over and over. I purged and then purged again in an attempt to rid my space of things that I no longer needed, used or wore.
I attempted to clear my physical and mental spaces of clutter. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. I learned that simplification is an ongoing journey, and its definition for you specifically may change over time and in different seasons of life. It’s not a place where you arrive, but rather a way of living.
Which brings me to 2018. This year I’ll continue the journey of simplification in all areas of my life in order to live out my word of the year: SAVOR.
I considered several words for this year including focus, present, gratitude and mindful, but “savor” was the only one that I felt encompassed the best parts of all of them when applied to my life.
So often we forget to live in the present. We’re always counting down to the next big thing. We’re scrolling through our feeds to see what everyone else is doing in their present. We’re failing to appreciate the moments that we’re currently living, because we’d rather plan for and look forward to whatever will come next in our lives. But when those moments we’ve been looking forward to finally arrive, are we truly living in them? Are we savoring them? Or are we too distracted by everything else?
I expect this year to be one of change and transition as I’ve added one sweet baby to my juggling routine. And generally speaking, when I go through transitions like this, I tend to get stressed out and overwhelmed. I tend to think a lot about reaching a certain point in time when things will be easier. For me, this is usually ‘when Callahan sleeps through the night’, ‘when the boys are in school and I have more free time’, ‘when I can charge more and work less’, etc.
And honestly? I think this is only normal. There are parts of every season of life that are difficult, especially when you’re a parent. Every new milestone brings with it a healthy dose of parental pride with a new challenge on the side. And unfortunately this usually results in us wishing ourselves out of our current situation.
But aren’t there beautiful things about every season too? There are. Where there are sleepless nights with a new baby you can also find silent snuggles in the dark of the night. Where there are toddler tantrums you can also find a child who loves you more than anyone else in the world; a child who thinks you hung the moon. Where there’s a full calendar you can also find a growing business that was once just a dream. And sadly enough, we wish these things away.
I’m guilty of it. Most of us are probably guilty of it if I had to guess. But this year instead of wishing all of it away, I’m choosing to savor it.
I’m not under the impression that you can just wake up one day and be present and appreciate all of the things about your life. I think a huge part of learning to savor the season of life I’m in is going to mean trimming the fat from it first.
Yes, that means more simplification. It means purging and reducing clutter. Again. It means paring down my photography offerings, so that I’m working less but doing more work that I love. It means saying no. Even when it’s hard. It means less scrolling through Facebook and less double tapping on Instagram. It means putting my phone down, silencing it, and unapologetically not being at anyone and everyone’s beck and call. It means choosing what’s going to matter 50 years from now rather than giving into immediate temptations like easy money, Facebook statuses and yet another notification on my phone.
The truth is that life is passing me by. And quickly. I haven’t stopped nearly enough to soak it all in, and I’m terrified that I’ll regret it if I don’t make a change.
Over the past several days I’ve made a conscious effort to savor. I lay down next to Callahan as he kicks and coos, and honestly? I cry. I look at his sweet baby face and am astonished at how perfectly his Maker formed him. It’s incredible. Every bit of him was thought out so wonderfully that it reduces me to tears.
I squeeze Beckett a little tighter and for a little longer when he hugs me, because soon enough that won’t be the norm. And I’ll look back on how he is now and yearn for just one more two-year-old embrace.
The fact of the matter is that savoring is a conscious decision. We choose to find the good in our current circumstances. We choose to show gratitude for the moments we’ve been fortunate enough to live. We choose to eliminate the noise and be present enough to savor. And if you need me in 2018, you can find me choosing to do all of these things. You can find me choosing to savor.