Starting Early – My Word for 2022

If you read my post from a couple of weeks ago, you know I was paring down my list. You see, every year, I choose a word to live, breathe, and focus on:

2018: Year of Nurture

2019: Year of Water

2020: Year of Clarity

2021: Year of Rebuilding

This coming year, it is 2022: Year of Mindfulness!

And, guess what? I’m starting early!

Christmas is a VERY difficult time of year for my husband and me. We don’t *hate* the holidays but the days of looking forward to them ended in the year 2000. That’s the first year we were together – without our (his young, my nearly-adult) children. Now the kids are all adults and things haven’t changed much. Not the fault of anyone. Just the realities of divorce and rebuilding the best everyone can. Not to mention the passing of time, which either pulls the threads closer or farther apart. You know… life, death, and all that jazz.

This year is no different for us, prep-wise. As has been our habit for almost all these years, there are no decorations, no lights, or tree with gifts beneath.

Now, before you go getting all sad for us, please don’t. This is a choice we made early on. We tried to do the whole “thing” a few times and found it only added to our melancholy.

On the rare occasions we did decorate – which meant it was our year to host a few of his family members – the lights caused visual migraines and a host of other frustrations like keeping cats away and the whole “putting away” drama after the fact. Magical? Not.

Therefore, through the years – we have chosen to enjoy other’s pretty lights and decorations.

This is where my word for 2022 comes in.

A friend mentioned that times have been so tough over the last couple of years, that she’s regressing back to her (our) youth to find simplicity and joy in every moment of the season. To her, that means watching Charlie Brown specials, marveling at lights, baking sweets and savoring them, and standing in snow up to her knees, bundled up with mittened hands, sipping cocoa.

It resonated with me.

And… it goes with the word I’ve chosen: Mindfulness. I will, of course, be discussing this word in all its glory… later. Today, we’re using a shortcut: Focus.

I started with my desk at work. I brought in photos and things that make my space a happy place. As you can see, it’s a warehouse-sized office with fluorescent lighting, which… ugh, can feel cold and distant… but my little space has all my happy people, even those with fur.

Yeah, I’m new there, but I’m fitting in so well! I’m a natural, they say. And I love it!

So, in moments of silence, I look up at these shots of everyone happy and smiling – all my special people – and remember the moments the photos were shot, say a word of thanks for them being in my life, send good wishes across the miles (or in the case of Dad, into heaven) and go on with my workday. Mindfulness, in this case, means stopping – focusing – in gratitude. They were the reason I’m here, on earth, at work, in life.

On the way out of the office the other day, I saw this decorated tree. I loved the little guys sitting under it and snapped a photo. It made me smile.

No, we don’t have decorations in our home, but they’re everywhere else. To be clear, what’s at home is a gift, as well. My husband, our cats, warm blankets, good food, peace. So much to be said for peace in the midst of chaos.

I am incredibly blessed.

This time of my life might have brought retirement or the grind of a job I hate. Instead, I have a job I love and am good at, enough money to send gifts to my mom and kids, and a peaceful place to land when the season brings its usual ups-and-downs.

Ya know, for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel the significant depression and anxiety that often mar the holidays. I’m sad about Dad not being here, of course, and that Mom doesn’t have him by her side, and that I can’t see my kids or grandson. All the usual culprits. But I don’t feel like digging a hole and throwing myself in… and that’s a very good thing.

I’m gonna do my best to think about my word for 2022 – in 2021 – and notice (and enjoy!) everything around me!

Next step in January? Get a meditation app and finally get serious about … you know… meditating (and prayer!).

I hope you will join me!

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