Last year at this same time I reflected on on my one little word for 2017. This is an idea I learned about through Two Writing Teachers and have loved its impact on focusing my year. Last year I broke the rules and chose two words–radical presence. This year I’m breaking them even more, and choosing four words:
small moments/no filter.
A trifecta of realizations in 2017 have led me to this.
One, sadly, being inexplicable tragedy that surrounded so many in 2017. Whether in our world or the lives of those close to me, I learned a more profound level of love and gratitude as so many in my inner circle were faced with adversity beyond comprehension. Some were expected, foreseen. Others not. Regardless, you were at a loss. No words could fill the space. So love had to. They say life happens in seasons, and I know this is true. 2017 was that season that deepened roots with so many friendships where love was all that could be given. However, that also meant recognizing others were dying. Sad, yes. But recognition demands we look through new lenses, and you suddenly see so clearly how your lives’ paths have diverged. No one person’s is wrong, the puzzle just doesn’t fit anymore. As I grappled to find peace with this I wondered what attributed to the difference. The answer: small moments/no filter.
Those friendships that found new roots were real. There was no show. No expectations. No trying to fit in boxes that didn’t fit. This authenticity jarred me from time to time. It was not something that had been common in many of my previous female relationships. That’s when I began to recognize, to see more clearly, to know it was time to walk. Liberation. What’s left standing is one hell of a group of women that I would walk to the ends of the Earth for. And they’d do the same for me. You know who you are. I love you and our unfiltered small moments.
The second and third reasons occurred simultaneously. I was going through all the pictures of the kids in 2017 and I noticed that most of them were big moments with filters. I got itchy. If what I valued so much in my friendships was authenticity this wasn’t it. This was staged–“smile for mommy” and then let me ignore you for the next ten minutes as I post to 8 different social media outlets and make sure to get the right filter on there so we look good. Nope. In the words of Lillian, “That’s not right!”
I remembered their journals from their first years of life and how I intentionally took weekly pictures of our little moments together. I pulled them back out and cried. I had lost complete sight of this in 2017. Shame on me. They change so much every day and I am missing it. So, I am recommitting myself to our weekly small moments/no filter. Life as we are living it and loving it or hating it or struggling with it. But life. Life as it exists from day to day. Because as so many of my friends learned (and taught me) this year, it can be gone or challenged in an instant.
While looking through pictures of these big moments a word that kept entering my brain was “conventional.” They looked like carbon copies of everyone else’s pictures. Go here, get the big cake, overspend, over plan, over stress, shove yourself into an overcrowded space. Frankly, I’m over it! When I look back at our pictures I do not want these words connected to our memories. I have always been the person who wants to do it all right now–I’m very impulsive in that way. Kyle has helped me immensely in this area, but I’ve still got a lot of growing to do. I’m stepping back this year. I want my family to have our own traditions–the small unfiltered kind, not the big, over-hyped kind.
This year we’re minimizing, which is in turn, unconventional. That feels right. In a world that needs so much, it feels wrong to keep serving ourselves. This year will be about small unfiltered moments of serving others. Maybe they’ll show up here. Maybe they won’t. But my small moments/no filter focus will also be the theme of the blog this year. That’s all I can manage, and I’m finding that’s where the power and meaning lie anyhow.
Stay tuned. I have no idea what will show up here. I’m letting life take the lead. The possibilities are thrilling!