I love the concept of choosing your own word. I don’t know where this phenomenon originated. It’s probably not important, although I do like to give credit where credit is due, so suffice it to say – it wasn’t my idea. I’m just stealing it. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery, I always say.
Churches are into picking your word, but this isn’t a religious thing for me. It is spiritual, though. I may be turning 50 this year, but I am certainly not finished growing up. I’m still polishing the edges, working on the bad habits and trying to let go of crappy stuff like resentment, jealousy, and judgment.
I think the moment any of us stop trying to be better people, is the moment we become old.
And I never intend to be old.
So, this year’s word (drumroll please…..) is Give.
(Last year’s word was blessed, and wow, was I ever.)
I picked give because I’ve gotten so much. I’ve been so very blessed. In order to keep balance, I’ve decided I need to give more or my plate will crack under the stress of so many blessings.
But what could I give?
I can’t give money. I don’t have any to spare since I have a kid in college and two headed that way and three cars with WAY too many miles on them. Add to that three horses who I couldn’t give away if I tried. (Basically I have three too many of everything.)
Since I couldn’t give money, I decided I could give my expertise. While my expertise is quite relative at best, offering it will mean giving more time (of which I have very little to spare, poor busy me). Still, I volunteered to teach a few free workshops on creative writing, and am looking for more opportunities to teach, coach, or help other writers.
That seemed pretty measly, so I thought more about it and decided that what I can most give are the intangibles - encouragement, patience, honesty, and love. Yup, it’s sounding kind of religious, but again, it’s not. It’s human. I can give more of my humanity.
So I’ve begun reaching out more. Instead of reading another writer’s post or article and thinking, “Wow, that’s really good, I wish I’d thought of that,” and simmering away on my jealousy stew, I’ve begun commenting, liking, and sharing.
When I finish reading a book, I’m following up on that reading by reviewing, and even contacting other writers to say- wow, you’re awesome. (since most of us work for pennies, I know the compliments are priceless.) I’m working up the nerve to invite a few to guest blog for me (already slipping up on the giving and trying to get something…)
Instead of trolling the internet looking for what I can get, I’m looking for what I can give.
I’m giving other writers a few minutes of my attention to read their blogs and comment.
Instead of simply clicking the follow button on twitter, I’m taking the time to scroll through a twitter feed and look for real connections.
The Liebster Award landed in my lap, and that was a perfect way to pay it forward.
I’m hitting the “like” button much more now and surrendering my lurking status.
At home, in terms of giving, I’m trying to be quieter. When it comes to me, that’s truly a form of giving. I’m not nagging or directing as much. I’m letting the kids go a little feral because they’re old enough to have earned that right. I’m not sharing all my inner rants with my patient hubby. I’m even turning his t-shirts right-side out instead of simply folding them that way.
I’m sure there are lots of other ways I can give this year. It’s February so I’ve only had this powerful word for about six weeks. I’m hoping it will guide me all year long. The adventure is just beginning.
What’s your word?