All the cool kids were doing it. On Twitter. On Facebook. And when I say “the cool kids” I mean a few of my Tribe of creative soul sisters, plus a few thousand others. And when I say “it” I mean choosing one little word to live by in 2013. There was even a hash tag – #OLW – so, I guess one could even call it a movement, or maybe a meme. But it was enough to get my attention and consider a word for myself. And when I say “consider” I mean toil over it until I got frustrated at the process – and then picedk a word that is not very nice.
Yes. When spoken correctly it is too a word.
But there was a bigger reason why I was struggling with this exercise, and it had very little to do with my loss for words. You see, I’ve been feeling a little stuck for longer than I care to admit. Its actually been years. For a while, I called it “resting.” And I believed that is what it was. After writing pieces for various publications, getting my black belt in karate, running my first triathlon, and suffering over various book proposals, I lost my energy for tackling new things. I told myself that the next big challenge would find me – and the Universe would provide. And the Universe has provided a great many wonderful things to me in the last few years – and I gratefully accepted all of those gifts, but did so standing in the same place. It has been like standing at the edge of the ocean with the gentle waves rushing in and out over my feet until am buried up to my ankles. Stuck. And in the last year I have become all too aware that I have been pulling the goldfish card with myself.
I tell myself that I am resting – but I’m really kinda dead.
So given this realization, you can imagine the words that came to mind when pondering 2013. None were particularly inspiring. All I know is that I don’t like where I have been – and I’m tired of being stuck. I needed a word that would get me “unstuck.” which is a lot to ask of one little word. But anything short of that would be disingenuous because aside for health for my friends and family – the only thing I want in the next year is to break free of this rut.
I decided that having a plan for this creative prison break would be a good start to finding my word. But every plan (and corresponding word) left me cold. Everything felt forced and required too much work.
I was about to give up on #OLW, when I had a particularly good day. A project I was driving at work had come together incredibly well and was recognized as such. I had been part of a creative team that kicked some serious ass, and upon that realization, my heart leapt and I smiled on the inside for a full 24 hours – for the first time in a long time. I was at my very best – and it felt fantastic. I really do love to shine.
And there it was. Shine. My one little word.
Forgive the Stuart Smalley impression but you know what? I can do that anywhere, anytime, anyhow. It doesn’t have to be tied to success. In fact, it can be tied to failure. Someone who can shine in the face of failure, frustration, or hard times casts a most beautiful light indeed. I can shine when I’m doing laundry. All I have to do is hum a little tune or smile at my kids as they pass by. And when I shine from the inside, everyone around me – those who I love most in this world – feel a little bit warmer.
These last few weeks I have become painfully aware of the short, precious time we have on this earth. I may not know what my next project is going to be, or how I am going to finish everything on my to-do list, or who I can count on down the line, but I do know that I have the wherewithal to shine – in big and little ways – everyday. I think this light will lift me out of this rut. I think 2013 is going to be a bright one for us all.