Last year was overall a very good year – on paper. My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary. He also graduated with his PhD. This little blog grew exponentially. I was chosen to be a featured content writer for one of my favorite writing communities, Prodigal Magazine. We were blessed with close family and friends, good health, and financial security. But underneath the pearly whiteness of 2012’s grin were plaque and buildup and toothaches.
Common knowledge warns us to not make the good the enemy of the best. Sometimes we’re encouraged to settle for what it is, not what it could or should be – the best. Other times we’re cautioned against perfectionism, that all-encompassing pursuit of being more or better than that’s rooted in control, not improvement. But as I’ve come to accept and grow more into myself as an INTJ, I realized that the good will never be good enough for me. It’s not that I’m unhappy with the ways things are, but rather it’s in my nature to want to improve, to create, to innovate, and to problem solve. I see this as potential, as opportunities to grow and pursue excellence.
In 2013, I want to more intentionally seize opportunities and pursue excellence. But seizing opportunities or pursuing excellence requires planning. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. And so for Christmas I asked for this strategic planner for the creative entrepreneur. The founder of the planner, Whitney English, is herself a creative entrepreneur and needed a more dynamic, holistic planner. It is a planner for the both/and community – those of us whom appreciate work-life integration rather than rigid separation (“balance”). The planner includes five categories of goals: professional, financial, personal, family, and spiritual. I wrote down several goals for each of these categories, and then as instructed, crossed out the least pressing until I had all but three goals to prioritize in 2013.
But to be honest, the planning process was a bit daunting. Choosing three main goals for the entire year seemed presumptuous, even foolish, when we don’t know what’s ahead of us this year. Thinking of these attainable yet ambitious goals in a concrete was scary. Writing them down was even scarier. Considering sharing them with you all along the way may be scariest of all.
Meanwhile, a slew of online blogger and writer friends began sharing their One Word for 2013. I read their stories of how their 2012 word changed their lives, helping them to focus and stay motivated in attaining their goals. I had briefly met the founder of the One Word 365 project, Alece Ronzino, at the STORY Conference last fall, and was inspired by her story and resilience. So on January 1st, I decided to give it a shot. I brainstormed (or pray-stormed) my word for 2013 and came up with two “T” words, both of which made me slightly uncomfortable. On January 2nd, I emailed Melanie at Only A Breath, who graciously is designing One Word blog buttons free of charge.
My One Word for 2013 is THRIVE.
Contrary to its first definition in the dictionary, I don’t intend thrive to focus primarily on becoming prosperous or successful. While those are certainly noble goals in certain realms – career, for example – I plan to focus on the second definition of my One Word: to grow or develop vigorously. In other words, to flourish. But the darker underbelly of this choosing this word is to contrast its rhyming word: survive. To survive is to barely scrape by or to live through something. To thrive is to excel in one’s circumstances or to become victorious despite living through something.
In 2013, I want to thrive. I don’t just want to be a survivor; I want to be a thrive-r. I want to excel in my circumstances, regardless of what they make look like, and to flourish as a full human being. In 2012, there were fits and starts of thriving. As I mentioned in my 2012 recap post and briefly above, there were notable achievements in my blogging and writing life, but overall I was hobbling along, day by day. The burdens of unknowns, of unemployment, or stuck-ness weighed heavily on us this past year and felt especially crushing over the last six months of playing the waiting game.
It's been a vicious cycle of waiting, waiting, waiting, and then nothing. Of course, we received the typical well-intended Christianese responses of “God has something great in store for you two” or “God is in control” or my (least) favorite – “God will never give you more than you can handle.” We nodded affirmatively in response, resisting our urge to shake our heads and roll our moistening eyes. In these moments, the attempted consolations were the proverbial equivalent of slapping a band aid on our foreheads to cure a migraine when all we really needed was an eye mask and some Extra Strength Excedrin to mitigate the pain. In these waiting games, there are no easy cures or answers.
Thrive, not just survive, in all facets of my being. There are stories to be told of brokenness and doubt and suffering. But there are also stories I ache to tell of more than just surviving – of thriving through healing and empowerment and growth. For nearly two years of writing on this little blog, I’ve kept them closely guarded and protected from others’ grasp. But in 2013, I believe that it’s time to share and grow. It’s time to thrive.
I have a feeling this is going to be easier said than done.
Did you choose a One Word for 2013? If so, please share in the comments what it was or link to your own One Word 2013 post.