Since my dear friend Emily – The Startup Wife – introduced me to the practice a couple of years ago, I’ve taken a morning or an evening every December to complete Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year workbook.
It’s a very worthwhile activity. Susannah challenges you, in the gentlest way possible, to look at the year that has just passed and reflect on what went well, what could have gone better, and what you’ve learned about yourself and others along the way.
You then take time to think about the year ahead and what your dreams, hopes and ambitions are, as well as noting any obstacles you expect to face and considering how you might overcome them. To tie all that together, you choose one word to keep in mind and inform your actions throughout the year – an overarching theme for everything that follows.
Before I filled in my 2014 workbook this week, I took some time to read through last year’s, and it was so interesting.
Last December, Tasmania wasn’t even the tiniest twinkle in our eyes. I’m not sure that I even knew where it was. Moving across the world was not high on my list of priorities for the year ahead.
But still the word I chose for 2013 was COURAGE. I challenged myself to say yes to things more often, even if they scared me. I wanted it to be a year when I took advantage of the opportunities that were offered, even if they took me far out of my usual comfort zone.
Although we had no idea what was to come, I knew that 2013 needed to be a year for reaching out rather tucking in.
So what of 2014?
I have chosen the word LEARN.
This is a year for learning in so many different ways.
First, I have so much to learn about this new place I live in. About Hobart, about Tasmania, and about Australia. From the slang words to the bank notes… from local customs to state politics… from history and tradition to modern etiquette… I am blundering blindly through most social encounters at the moment, marking myself out as a newcomer several times a day. When I look at the night sky I don’t recognise the constellations anymore. I don’t know the names of the birds in the local park. DorkySon lent a hand at the supermarket self-checkout the other day, telling me that my red pepper was actually, now, called a capsicum. And apparently we will not be pulling crackers on Christmas Day, we will be pulling Christmas Bon Bons instead.
I learn new things, almost without trying, every time I leave the house. But I would like that learning to be more intentional, in 2014. I want to actively seek out new knowledge, experiences, and emotions.
Second, I want to learn alongside DorkySon. It is definitely a two-way thing – we have a lot to teach each other. His constant questioning sometimes drives me crazy, but it’s inspiring too. He starts kinder in 2014 – the last stop before formal schooling. It will be another wonderful year of learning through play, but it also means a uniform and a teacher who he addresses as ‘Mrs’ for the first time ever. I can’t wait to be as much a part of that as he allows. He is so open to the world, so curious, and I want to be as engaged and present as possible to support his learning, and to learn alongside him.
DorkyDad and I have some learning to do as well. We have gone a long time putting most of our energy into work and home and parenting, and perhaps not as much time with each other as we would have liked. But we have had more lunches and evenings out – just the two of us – in our 4 months in Hobart than we had in the previous two years. We are turning our phones off, turning the TV off, and starting to really re-engage with each other. We love each other dearly. We can still make each other laugh. We still interest each other. And I think we are still learning about each other. It is wonderful, and I hope we can continue it throughout the year.
Finally. The thing that will allow me to make all those other learning experiences happen is if I’m open to learning more about myself. I turned 30 in 2013. I moved across the world. I said yes to things and surprised myself, and also said no to things and surprised myself. I don’t often feel proud, but I really am proud of 2013. It is the first time in a long time when I can stand up and say yes, I did have courage this year. I was brave in ways I didn’t expect to be, and I’m proud of that. I need to step that up in 2014. More and bigger and better. I want every day to count.
This is the first time I have blogged about my word of the year and made it public. This is the first time I’ve really laid myself open in a while, and written honestly about who I am and what I want. It makes me a little nervous, actually, but it adds another layer of accountability. I hope that at the end of next year you will still be reading DorkyMum and I’ll be able to write another post telling you some of the things I’ve learned in 2014. I hope it’s another year I can feel proud of.
I would love to know what your word for next year would be. If you can carve out an hour or two for yourself over the holidays, do take the time to fill in the whole 2014 Workbook. If not, just take five minutes to think about what you want to do next year, and who you want to be. You might be surprised what you can achieve, just by being intentional and writing it down or saying it out loud.