Why I’m swapping New Year resolutions for one little word

Lately I’ve seen a few people blogging about their OLW for 2017. An OLW stands for One Little Word. I found a link on a blog I regularly follow which took me to Ali Edwards website (http://aliedwards.com/). Ali Edwards is a designer, blogger and workshop instructor. She is also an author of four books about memory keeping. I totally agree with her that “a single word can be a powerful thing”.

Whilst I haven’t signed up for the workshop myself, I decided to select a word which I will carry throughout the year. Ali states on her website “There’s no right or wrong – your word might find you or you might select it based on what you hope to bring into your life in 2017”.

So this year I decided to forego the usual list of resolutions which I merrily write out before the year ends (and then promptly forget within a few weeks into the new one). I chose a word and that will be used as a guideline for the next 12 months.

Content.

Instead of my usual list consisting of “go to gym more often, eat healthily, learn to say no, learn to say no without guilt, stop over-thinking, step outside my comfort zone more, declutter, stress less and laugh more” I’m just using one word to remind me to do all of the above and more.

We live in a society that urges us constantly to achieve/accumulate/spend/see and quite honestly be more. More has become the norm. From more time spent on social media to more money spent on things we don’t need, it is exhausting keeping up with the endless cycle of ‘extra’ we are supposed to be adding each day.

So here is where my OLW comes in. Content is what I aim to feel in most situations. My goal is to climb into bed each evening feeling content with what I’ve achieved during the day. It doesn’t have to be huge and profound. It can be knowing I went to gym and ran an extra 10 minutes when I didn’t feel like it at the time. Or it can be the knowledge that I chose a healthy treat at the supermarket instead of a family sized bar of chocolate. Or I skipped the glass of wine and instead focused on drinking the recommended amount of water that day. That I put down the pair of shoes I didn’t need and bought a book that I can spend hours enjoying. It could be that I helped someone in the best way I could. Or I walked away from an unpleasant situation. Staying true to yourself is more important than getting the last word.

I aim to feel content in my decisions going forward. The mental gymnastics of “did I do or say the right thing?” is exhausting and robs one of happiness. Content ties in with a goal of mine which is to live in the moment. How many of us are constantly fretting over the past or worrying over the future and letting the present slip by silently? Yes it is easier said than done but I need to start somewhere and right now seems like a good place!

I would like to end the day knowing I’ve done something that added to my marriage, relationships and friendships. That I gave 100% at work. That I made healthy choices. That I learnt something new and look forward to putting it into practice. A day filled with positive things and few regrets. And that is what will make me content. Everyday won’t be perfect but instead of mulling over what doesn’t go right, I need to focus on what does and move on with a heart filled with content.

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Goodbye Ouma

Haven’t blogged in ages as 2016 ended off on a very sad note for my family.  We lost my Grandmother in November after she had a huge stroke 8 weeks before.  It has been incredibly hard for me to accept that my Ouma is gone and I still find myself in a state of shock when I think about that fact.  I have never felt so heartbroken and the sadness is like a gigantic wave that arrives without warning and leaves me feeling drowned with loss.  That is the only way I can describe the grief I’m feeling at the moment.

The first of everything has not been easy.  The first month without her.  The first Christmas.  The first New Year.  I wish I could turn the clock back for just one more moment with her while she was healthy.  There was so much I still had to say.  I loved hearing about her stories from when she was growing up and how she met my grandfather and their early days together.  And it rips out my heart everytime I realise that we will never sit together drinking tea again.

I am so scared of forgetting something.  I have so many wonderful memories of her and I’m worried they will fade or I’ll forget some of them.  I miss her so much.

So many people have been wonderful during this difficult time.  My husband has supported me through this sad time with endless love and I am appreciative of everything he has done.  The day he received the phonecall that Ouma had passed away, he was at my office in minutes and we drove to the frail care facility to say a final farewell to my Gran.  He spent the whole day with my family doing whatever he could. I cannot thank him enough.

I’ve received so many kind words, support and love from friends.  The cards filled with supportive messages,  the Whatsapps, the e-mails and the hugs. Again I cannot thank all of them enough.  One morning a friend at work messaged me something that I really needed to hear at that exact moment and it tied in with one of my Gran’s favourite Bible verses.

My Gran lived to 90 and I know we are extremely lucky to have had her in our lives for so many years.  I know she isn’t in any pain or suffering anymore.  I know she is in a better place and reunited with my Grandfather.  I know all these things.  The rational part of me knows that she is at peace and happy and healthy.  And yet….. I still desperately wish that I could just have one more moment with her.  Just one more afternoon drinking tea together.  Just one more chance to say thank you.  One more time to laugh together at something random but special to the two of us.  Just one more opportunity to tell her how much she meant to me.

xx