My word last year was enough. I didn’t write about it much after the first couple of weeks, but I chose that word because I wanted to focus throughout the year on remember that I am enough and that what I have and my life here in Atlanta are enough, and to try and locate and remedy deficiencies in my life the made it feel not enough. Not really a resolution, per se–more of an attitude adjustment. As I’ve said, though, the first part of 2013 was less than stellar. Where I had hoped that focusing on enough would produce a zen-like serenity, a willful contentment, I found the absolute opposite happening. However hard I tried, I couldn’t reach equilibrium and I felt unbalanced and unhappy most of the time during those months. Enough became less about contentment and more about holding on. Enough meant that I was going to school and doing my reading and producing okay papers with good ideas. It meant that I was going to church and praying and reading the Bible (however half-heartedly). It meant that I was playing with Spur and taking her for a run in the mornings and keeping us both fed. Enough, in practice, didn’t mean being happy and settled; it meant doing the hard work of living in the midst of turmoil and not being upended.
In my last post, I said that 2013 wasn’t a banner year for me, but I worked hard enough and did enough to be okay. And I was okay. And if my one little word didn’t lead me where I thought it would, it did teach me something important: sometimes we forget that life can be really hard and that most of us are just doing the best we can to ride it out for a while, hoping for a smoother road ahead. Sometimes we look at other people and wonder, with an edge to our thoughts, why they can’t just get it together already. In some cases, that’s fair. But other times, it may take everything that person’s got just to make it through the day–and sometimes that has to be enough. So, in other words, I learned a little bit about grace this year.
But I’m not just holding on anymore, and I’m not just okay. I made it through that rough patch and things are looking so much brighter. I tend not to make New Year’s resolutions, really, but I’ve been telling people that what I’ve resolved for this year is to have more good times than bad. I don’t know if 2014 will be a banner year or not, but I’m planning on it being a better year. In the words of my friend Kristi, “2014: The Year Atlanta Doesn’t Suck.” This year, things are looking up.
And that’s why my one little word for 2014 is rise. I’m done being downcast, and I’m done with lowered expectations for myself. I’m on my way back up. And I’m looking forward to finding out just what that means.