One Word for 2015: Present

I’ve read a number of blog posts in the last week where the writers have chosen a word as a theme for 2015 rather than list resolutions.

I like this idea. I’m not great on following through with resolutions, and as I told my sister last week, the only real goal I have this year is to keep my head above water. No complicated swimming strokes here; the doggie paddle will do just fine to get me through the year. Think of your aunts years ago, kicking just enough to keep their heads up and their hair dry. That’s me, this year.

Treading water isn’t necessarily a particularly noteworthy or envy-inspiring goal, but let’s be honest, folks. I’ve got a two-month-old and a 2-year-old and I go back to work in a little less than two months. If I make it out of the house wearing two matching shoes most days this year, I’ll consider it a victory.

But there’s still room within that oh-so-lofty goal for improvement. So, since “keeping my head above water” doesn’t have much of a ring to it for a theme for the year, I’m choosing “present” as my word for 2015.

2015 present

Present, as in living in the moment. Last year, I found inspiration from Rachel Macy Stafford of Hands Free Mama. Once and for all, I was going to put down my phone and pay more attention to what was happening in front of my face, and not on the screen. And I did do better with it, for a while — at least as it came to my time with Teddy. I never did get much better when it came to better respecting my time with B, and I’ve backslid during maternity leave to the point that I find myself checking my phone all the time out of habit. I don’t think that I’m ever really going to drop the phone entirely, so it’s unrealistic to say that’s what I’m working toward, but I would like to do a better job of really living in the moment with my family. Well, other than during 3 a.m. nursing sessions, because then all bets are off. Then, the multitude of Buzzfeed quizzes really are necessary.

Present, as in being grateful for today. It’s so tempting, here in the trenches of baby nursing and middle-of-the-night wakings and potty training and tantrums, to wish these days away, to think about skipping past them to a day where the grass is greener, the diapers are fewer, the sleep is longer and less interrupted. Except those days have a funny way of never arriving. Sure, one day we’ll sleep through the night again, and we’ll happily buy the last package of diapers EVER. But those days will come with their own challenges, challenges I’m not ready to think about yet. And it turns out that these days come with lots of good stuff, too, if I open my eyes to it. I’d like to get back to practicing gratitude this year, to help keep me focused on that good stuff — the smiles shared between Teddy and Katie, clean bills of health, not taking the metro until March — so that the spit up- and poop-stained clothes don’t take me down with them.

Present, as in giving myself the permission not to focus on what needs doing tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Part of living in the present moment is finding a way to dampen the anxiety that I often feel about things that loom on the horizon. All too often I let that anxiety steal my happiness of the current moment. Teddy starts preschool later this year, a process that in D.C. could easily dominate most months between now and then, if I let it. The challenge for me will be finding the sweet spot between feeling confident that we’ve found the right school for him and not losing myself down the preschool research rabbit hole — or letting the water go over my head.

Have you made resolutions for this year? What words or themes do you hope to live in 2015?

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11 thoughts on “One Word for 2015: Present

  1. Being more present is a great, and completely attainable, goal for this year! Maybe texting each other less would help us be more present in the moment πŸ˜‰

  2. LOVE your word and your reflection on it, Michele. You have such a friendly and insightful writing voice. I always feel like I’m sitting down across from you over coffee. Maybe someday. πŸ™‚

  3. I like present. Sometimes I think I spend too much time thinking about, or waiting for some time in the future – a weekend, a vacation, summer, something. But there’s a lot of living to be missed in the present when the focus is always on the future.

    My word for the year is home. I’m ready to be home, to make a home, to enhance our home, to figure out what my various homes are.

    • You’re so right about what you miss when you’re so focused on the future. It’s one thing to look ahead to something fun and exciting, but more often I’m stressing about something rather than looking ahead. Love the idea of “home” — so much goes into your physical space and the emotions around it. Happy New Year!

  4. I’ve been wondering about my one word for days now and can’t choose one. I love Present though, and you so totally get a break from that at 3am looking at your phone. I think when Tucker was breast feeding is when I’ve read the most e-books ever (on my phone).

  5. I’m so with you on this! One of my new things I just instituted is that I don’t allow myself to have my phone at the kitchen table. Because what will happen is, I have my phone because I’m just doing “one thing”- checking the weather, replying to a text, or reading one “important” email.. and then suddenly I’m sucked in and reading some garbage FB status… And not being present with my kids. I hate that looking at my phone has just become a mindless habit. So I figure I will start with the kitchen table, and when the phone is no longer a habit there, then I’ll start another phone rule…

    And about being present with the babyhood of kids… I am right there too. So many times I have mentally counted the months until the baby turns one, and then I feel upset with myself because every month is the loss of an ounce of baby fat, the addition of a new tooth, and all the things that will eventually mean she’s not my squishy, fat, jolly, snuggly baby anymore and I do love this phase. It’s just so hard to appreciate when they need you so badly, so many hours of the day (and night). So I am working on that, too…

    Meditation has really helped me be more present in my daily life. I am planning to post on that, stay tuned:)

    • Ooh, I can’t wait to read more about your meditation practice! I bet that would help me tremendously.

      Glad to know I’m not alone on both the mindless phone habit and too easily wishing today away. I like your “no phone at the table” rule. I think I need to come up with some parameters like that.

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