Of New Year’s Resolutions and One Word

Bridge over a pond in the winter, Johannapark, Leipzig, Germany

Happy New Year! I hope that 2015 is off to a roaring start for you all.

I’m not a New Year’s Resolutions girl. I wrote last year about why I had ditched them in favour of picking one word for the year. It’s something that’s worked really well for me, and for friends who’ve done it as well. Personally, it’s simplified my life in ways I hadn’t expected. The things I’ve accomplished over the past 2 years have literally been due to living life in a purposeful way.

This past November, I sat down to reflect on the year. I looked at what worked, what didn’t. I kept coming back to a specific word that I was sure was going to be my word for 2015. However, as December life events unfolded, I began to waver a bit.

The first weekend in December found us on a plane returning to our beloved city of Atlanta for the celebration of my best friend’s wedding. We were able to be with ‘framily’ that have been part of our lives since before our marriage; people who’ve known and loved us and been part of our life community as we’ve lived far, far away. It was a joyous occasion, and to be honest, for someone who is not often sentimental, my heart nearly burst with love and gratitude as we travelled back to the UK.

The third weekend in December found me on a plane returning to the place I was born for the funeral of my 80 year-old Grandmother. It was a completely unexpected departure from this life to the next. I was able to be with my family that have known me since I was born; people who have also loved us and been part of our life community as we’ve lived far, far away. It was a sobering occasion, but we celebrated her life lived well. I know she would have enjoyed all of us being together, as we are a family that does laughter and tears well.

The juxtaposition of those two weekends shaped my last week of December. Recovering from intense jet lag, I struggled through the days, putting one foot in front of another. As grief and emotions whirled around in my head, I kept thinking about the word I had originally chosen for 2015, and now how it just felt wrong.

Thinking through the time I spent in both places, with the people that I love, I kept coming back to the word intentional. While in Atlanta, we were with friends who had been intentional with us at the start of our marriage, providing guidance and support as we moved from our family of origin to our family of choice; we were with friends who intentionally chose us to be godparents to their children; we were with friends who had been an intentional part of our graduate journey. While in my birth place, I was with my parents who had been intentional with they way they raised my brother and myself; I was with family that have played intentional and pivotal parts in my life.

2015 will be my year of being intentional.

I made a list and set some goals of the important ways I want to be intentional this year in my family, friendships, faith, and health. The death of my grandmother caused me to refocus on the fact that we all are here for a limited time, so we should be living purposefully, with intention, all the time. In the mundane moments of time, it’s hard to remember that. This week, I was reminded by a friend that it’s the mundane moments where we should be living our best, as they make up the bigger picture of our lives.

The good thing is, it doesn’t matter what stage of your life you’re in right now; maybe you’re a graduate wife, maybe you work full time or maybe you’re a stay- at-home-Mum. No matter where you are right now, I want to challenge you to do something different this year. Pick a word and live by it. Set some personal goals. Pick three things you know you’ll do well this year, and do them. But whatever you do: Love well. Live purposefully. Be intentional.



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