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Sunday, January 24, 2016

#oneword365 :: Optimism

I have been doing the One Word 365 challenge now for 4 years and it has had a more powerful impact on my life than I would have imagined when I first started. In just a few words, here has been my experience over the last four years.

2012: Simplify - I could not have picked a better year for this theme. I had just returned from several months living in India with an excessive amount of stuff. Literally (and embarrassingly) two 75 pound bags and a 50 pound bag. Too much. It all worked out in the end but made my life so much more stressful. At the beginning of 2012, I was moving to Africa for four months. I packed only the bare minimum into my bags, set a strict budget, rationed my American food, and diligently tracked calories and fitness in my fitness pal. My life changed dramatically during my time in Mali - not just due to the things I mentioned above, it was also the incredible people I spent my time with and humbling circumstances. What better way to learn to simplify than from the people of Africa? I came home, cleaned out of all of my stuff I didn't need and moved forward. I got my first job and saved money. My life felt so much lighter. I feel relief just writing this.

2013: Self-Love - This year I learned to embrace both body and mind. I learned to better love my personality, my spirit, my body, my perspective. This was so much harder than I could have imagined but as I learned to accept myself with Rheumatoid Arthritis and love the crazy, stubborn, busy Liz, it made life a little easier. 

2014: Enough - I learned to stop comparing myself {still learning} and love who I am today. I read a lot of Brene Brown and did a lot of meditation. I figured out my limits and learned to say no. 

2015: Thrive - I struggled this year. I do not feel that I truly lived up to my "one word" but it did help me to stay focused on certain goals throughout the year as I made decisions on how to use my time. I did receive a promotion at work and we purchased our first home so I think I thrived this year, just in different ways than I expected.

Now for 2016. It has taken me weeks to decide on this year's word (obviously since it is now the last week of January). But here it is:
After coming across the Optimist Creed again, it kept coming back to me again and again. And finally, I realized this was my word for the year: Optimism. I am generally an optimistic person so this may seem an odd choice but it fits so perfectly with my life right now. As you know, I love adventure and challenge and change. As we have been settling into life a little more (particularly after buying our first home), I have struggled to be content and to be happy in the here and now. I often find myself looking back on my life even 2 or 3 years ago and how different things were. As much as I miss certain times of my life, there are so many better things ahead. Like many of us, I find myself at times discouraged with work, finances, relationships, and so many "things to do" {that may not feel as meaningful to me} that I struggle to stay optimistic. So, here is to a beautiful year of optimism. I want to feel enthusiastic and excited about every aspect of life. I want to share that optimism with others.

Read the Optimist Creed for yourself and see.

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