I’ve been choosing a OLW since 2014. Sometimes they really stick and have meaning, sometimes I need to think hard about halfway through the year to remember my OLW. Last year I chose ASTONISH. It was a way for me to put into practice the advice that Mary Oliver gives about living a life:
Tell about it.
My goal was to record something every day that I noticed, appreciated, contemplated, or astonished me. It was a way to reflect on the life I was living. By February the practice was almost abandoned, until I figured out that while there were many things that surprised and astonished me on a daily basis, I didn’t have a good way of recording them. It wasn’t part of my routine. That is, until I started using a simple word document I called Daily Snippets and made it a daily bullet task. As with any new routine or habit, it took a few weeks to really stick, but recording a thought, observation, or daily (mostly) surprise has become a practice.
Today I read through all my snippets. Many were about nature (the magic of raindrops, the whisper of snow, viewing crocuses and daffodils as nature’s hugs), some were short poems or thoughts about hope (inspired by the pandemic), others were observations about color (the gray of a winter’s day, leaves of gold and crimson, the beauty of a red cardinal). They were little things that helped me appreciate the world at a time when appreciation was so needed. I plan to continue this practice into 2021 as I incorporate my new OLW – TRUST. The word came to me as I was reflecting on my writing successes and disappointments for 2020. When I looked up its meaning I discovered that confidence, hope, and belief are all a part of what it means to trust. Since I need to develop more confidence in some areas of my life (yes, even as a septuagenarian), and hope and belief are so important to maintain as we move into 2021, I think trust will be a good word to live by. I will look to establish trust in my personal actions and decisions, reflect on how I demonstrate trust, and be on the lookout for new ways to maintain and spread trust.
I wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2021. While there may be times of darkness, the light will surely follow. Trust me.