As I have referred to several times in this blog, I spent this year thinking, documenting and reflecting about things I am grateful for. I made this my word of the year “gratitude” for 2012. Each morning I would wake up and while eating my breakfast and waking up, I would write down at least three things I was grateful for in my gratitude journal a.k.a. a dayminder calendar. The only pressure I really put on myself was to make sure I did not write the same thing I wrote the day before, make sure I do it every day, and remember these things throughout the day when I am feeling challenged.
I was really unsure what to expect from this project but my hope was that I would lead a more grateful life. I think that was fulfilled. An odd experience I began feeling was when I was having an emotional experience with something (like watching my daughter dance, listening to music, or just being in the moment and feeling moved) I learned to just let it happen. My family will probably tell you that I cried a LOT this year. I’m okay with that and I think they are becoming okay with it! I learned that living in the moment takes courage to be yourself and just let things happen which for me include many, many tears.
When I read through my journal today, I noticed my most grateful things were my family, my challenges because they make me stronger, my job both new and old (changed jobs in October) because it is more than a job it’s a calling, the ability to run and push my body for more distance, and for my place I call home. I also noticed that these things seem so simple yet are what makes up the majority of my life.
As a family we had quite an up and down year. We were challenged in ways that I hope NEVER happen again but we were able to grow closer because of the situation. We faced downs such as a job loss that took away 70% of our income and with it financial difficulty after we were just getting back on our feet but we survived and are stronger because of it. We faced extreme joy with graduations from college, acceptance letters to other colleges, new jobs for the two of us, and just being able to all be together as a family.
Some personal things I am grateful for include finishing my first half-marathon (and in under 2 hours), competing in other races and doing well, graduating with my Masters degree, and being able to contribute financially with a full time job.
This word also came into play with my job. I found myself challenging others with the word “gratitude”. Even giving my clients homework to write about what they are grateful with. It is amazing to watch others realize they really have a lot to be grateful for when they are at their most vulnerable moments. And with this I have been able to watch their self-esteem rise. (Which believe me helped me get through my tough situations) Who doesn’t need a little self-esteem boost on a daily basis?!
Overall, I think this project was a great idea. I do plan on continuing it into the new year (already writing in my new calendar today!).
My new word is “Cherish” which I think is a great follow-up for “gratitude” and I can’t wait to begin using that word in my daily life.
How about you? Will you take the gratitude challenge of writing about it daily? Do you have word of the year? If so what is it and how are you going to use it in 2013?