My Word for 2014: A Reflection

journal writing

This time last year I did Susannah Conway’s Unravelling The Year workbook, which is a really helpful exercise that I’ve now done for three years running. It is an opportunity to sit down and reflect on the year that has just passed, celebrating your personal and professional achievements, and working out how you want to build on those the following year. If you have the chance to take a look I’d definitely recommend it.

As part of the workbook, I also chose my Word for 2014, which was Learning.

There were lots of things I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn more about the new place we had just moved to, to learn alongside DorkySon as he started kindergarten, to learn more about my own strengths and weaknesses, and to learn how to strengthen and energise my relationship with DorkyDad.

I can’t quite believe how quickly the last twelve months have gone. But at the same time when I look back at the blog posts I’ve written, the photos I’ve taken, and the memories we’ve made, I can’t believe how much we’ve packed into the year either.

How did the learning go?

Well, not bad.

I signed up for two formal pieces of learning – an online course with the Australian Writers Centre, and a MOOC run by the University of Edinburgh about the independence referendum. The first was really useful for helping me get to grips with the publishing landscape in Australia, for getting feedback on my writing, and for making some useful contacts. But I’m afraid that despite signing up to the IndyRef course with great enthusiasm, and persuading a lot of my friends to do the same, by the time it actually started I’d become so overwhelmed with information on the campaign that I couldn’t face any more of it, and I didn’t participate. Big fat FAIL for me on that one.

I did a lot better with informal learning.

I feel like I’m still learning more about Tasmania every day – sometimes from sitting at home reading a book or a blog, sometimes from chatting to people I know, and sometimes from getting out exploring with DorkySon and DorkyDad. We have done more daytrips, short breaks, festivals, concerts, meals out, and museum visits this year than we ever have before. All three of us are bursting with love for our new home, and feel so lucky to be living in such a special place.

DorkySon has done amazingly well at school this year. He has settled in more quickly that we imagined he would, and it has been absolute privilege to support his learning in the small way that I have. When we sit reading a book that he has brought home, or practicing his letters, or working on some art project that he has been inspired to do, it is the best feeling in the world. Being a parent right now is the most fun it has ever been.

DorkyDad and I have had a good year together. We celebrated our seventh (SEVENTH!) wedding anniversary. We have a few lovely babysitters who DorkySon likes, and we have been taking full advantage of that – it is nice to remind ourselves that we are a couple as well as parents. But we have also enjoyed plenty of evenings on the sofa watching crap TV, early nights with books, and weekends pottering around in the garden. We cannot think of a single thing to give each other for Christmas this year, which is the best indication I can think of that we are both content with what we have.

Finally, I have learned plenty about myself this year. It has taken 30 years, but I have become fully accepting of my introverted self. I’ve become more aware of my health than ever before – I have learned that carbs and sugar really make me feel like crap, and that big sleeps, exercise and drinking lots of water make me feel great. (Not rocket science, but, y’know…) I am doing pilates and discovering that my body is much weaker and tight and screwed up than I thought it was, but that I get greater satisfaction than I could ever have imagined in making it strong, and that it’s okay to need help to do that.

2014 was a funny old year. In contrast with the upheaval of 2013, it was quite a gentle twelve months, all about us settling in to this new place and taking it easy. But it was also about all three of us pushing ourselves, working hard, and being brave about doing new and difficult stuff. It was a good one, and I will be sorry to see it go, but I’m also excited to see what next year brings.

For some reason I’m having a hard time choosing a word for 2015.

We know already that there will be some big changes. DorkySon will be stepping up from three days of school to five, which is going to be brilliant when he adjusts, but he’s going to be exhausted for the first spell. DorkyDad has some huge work stuff coming up, including a lot of international travel. And I’m seriously feeling the pressure to start making some proper money from writing rather than just doing it for fun. I need to pitch more, procrastinate less, get better at dealing with rejection letters… all that.

I want my word for 2015 to be something strong, something that communicates the need to push outwards and to challenge myself… but not something so strong that it becomes aggressive and scares me back under the duvet.

For the first time, Susannah is doing a week-long email workshop on choosing your word, so I’m hoping by the end of this week I’ll know what it is. When I do I’ll share.

In the meantime… what would yours be?

20 responses

  1. Love this post, sounds like a wonderful year! my word for 2015 is definitely going to be ‘change’. We will be moving house, Syd will be starting school and Betsy will be flying the nest to University. It’s going to be a year sponsored by Kleenex I think! By the end of it I will find myself in a new position, less kids under my roof, more time for myself – some soul searching about what to do with myself next will be on the horizon then!

  2. I remember reading your blog post last year about choosing a word and I chose ’embrace’ for 2014 (as in: you have lots of good things – a family, home, job – slow down and embrace and enjoy what you have). I’m struggling a bit to come up with one for 2015 too but I have been thinking about ‘space’. I am trying to carve out a little bit of time (or ‘space’) during the week which is not filled by children and I want to build a room onto our house (another ‘space’). Then today a saw an amazing woman on ‘Humans of New York’ who had changed her name to Space. It’s a sign!

  3. I joined in with you this year, with my choice of word being patience – I’m not sure how well I did if I’m honest, at times I have purposely been more patient when at other I really needed a lot more patience.

    Best wishes for 2015, I need to think of a new word too.

  4. Oooh the Unravelling The Year workbook sounds interesting. Think I might give it a go. Not sure what my word for 2014 would be. I’ve got back to work this year and so much has changed, so “juggling” might describe it best. Mr G and I have only just got the hang of how to manage everything now I’m not at home full-time.
    I’d like my word for next year to be “healthy”. Hubby has gone onto insulin for his diabetes and I feel we’re dealing with a lot of stress and rushing around. Would be nice to find a balance which keeps us from getting rundown.

  5. I love these reflective posts, they give me the chance to sit back and… reflect – funny that!
    I’m looking forward to reading your chosen word and I think mine for 2015 will be one of the following, acceptance, balance, slow-living, enjoyment. I have time to decide yet.

    I’m on a countdown to 50 as of April so 2015 will be the end of my first half century, I intend to enjoy it and make the most of it.

  6. What a lovely round up of your year. Your descriptions of your new life always sound so calm and lovely. I’m not sure what word I would have chosen for 2014, but it has certainly been eventful. I would love to find the time to do the unravelling the year workbook, I remember you blogging about it last year and it sounds like a great exercise

  7. Reflecting on the year gone by is such a great way to gather up the learnings and move on, isn’t it? I’ve always done this informally but I read this post and ran straight over to Susannah’s site to download the workbook and sign up for the email course. I LOVE the idea of a power word for the year. Wonder what mine will be? Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas Ruth x

  8. What a lovey year you’ve had…. I love this time of year for clearing the decks too, and planning for the next twelve months. Next year is all about our house renovation and the novel, and the tentative beginnings of building my counselling practice up again (I’m going to be blogging a lot less!). Happy Christmas (again!). XXX

  9. Hello Ruth. I have just devoured your entire blog in an afternoon. It’s been an interesting, enlightening and wonderful read. My husband, myself and three of my four sons are ourselves settling in Tasmania in the near(ish) future… Probably the tail end of 2015 or maybe early 2016. I have (like you) been reading everything and anything about Tasmania. Unlike you we are not coming from the opposite side of the world but from the opposite side of Australia: Perth, Western Australia. We did a two week trip to Tassie in the hope of moving there in 2009, The timing wasn’t right then, but it’s getting there now…Whoo,,, Wish we could leave now. Even a year seems too long to wait. I look forward to reading your coming posts.
    Regards and warm hugs

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  11. Carolyn’s comment makes me happy to read!
    Hmmm, a word for 2105. Like you I want to choose a strong word, something positive, I would pick ‘Empowered’ but that sort of leans towards me actually doing something and I can’t handle that level of pressure!
    Maybe ‘Exploring’…

  12. love that you’ve made so much of this and that you have had such a positive year. For the last 2 years, I’ve completed the work book and then put them just within reach, stumbled across them regularly but never acted upon it. Maybe this year….
    I’m disappointed I missed the email course to choose a word, finding a word is always so tricky.
    Best wishes for 2015 X

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  14. So how have you done? Is there a word yet? I’ve always heard good things about this but never participated but I seem to have done something similar without even realising, my post going live tm explains 2015 I’d the year for me to be fit and free. Mich x

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  16. I’ve done the Susannah Conway unravelling the year exercise for the past 2 years and about to embark on it again. I have already chosen my word for 2015 – BRAVE. Can’t wait to see what it brings! Looking forward to reading about yours too 🙂

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