2018 Word of the Year: Pause

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash; edited via Canva

It took me a while to land on my word of the year for 2018. I wanted something that referred to living simply and finding joy in small things...kind of like a cross between minimalist and hygge. I really just wanted to focus on the things I actually care about, instead of all the things the world is shouting. I need peace and focus.

This applies to all aspects of my life- being more financially responsible, being a more patient mother, being a non-asshole person in a world flooded with social media and a reason to always be mad no matter what your beliefs are. 

So my word of the year finally came to me- pause. When I googled, I immediately recognized and related to the two separate but correlating definitions:

  •  to stop temporarily
  • to linger for a time

These are both necessary for me.

I have to stop reacting immediately. I have to stop assuming that the bad I see is all there is. I have to stop putting people, even seemingly bad ones, into one dimension. I have to stop reacting with frustration to my child who is literally new at everything in life. I have to stop thinking that the people around me think like I do. I have to stop and question- am I living out the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control)? Am I adding to the good in the world, or the bad?

I also have to learn to linger. My life has felt like it's go-go-go since having a baby. It's always something, there's always someone. While it's the opposite of the intention, even "self-care" has become another to-do task on the checklist; how can I maximize this 10 minutes of Me Time? Do I sleep or paint my toenails or eat a cookie or call my congressman or read a book?

I have values, guys. 

Good, important values that come from my religion but also extend to the world at large. I have spent much time in deep personal reflection and prayer and research to choose these values. I need to linger on those. And it's hard, but it's what I want my life to be.

When looking up definitions and quotes, I came across this one:

Human freedom involes our capacity to pause, to choose the one response to which we wish to throw our weight.
-Rollo May

That is exactly what I want to do this year. I want to focus on myself, and truly think about where I am throwing my mental and emotional weight.

This is not to say I won't call or write my representatives, but maybe it means sharing a resource like 5calls.org or Resistbot or the Contact Elected Officials or NPR's Up First podcast rather than simply retweeting a click-bait headline.

It's not to say I won't buy new things, but I can commit to the Thirty Wears attitude or shop at thrift stores more.

It means that when I say I'm a Christian, I have read the Bible and prayed enough to be secure that my life choices reflect that sacred title (because as a believer, yes it is sacred to be called that).

Here's to 2018. 

Here's to pausing, to stopping momentarily, to lingering for a time.

1 comment

  1. I laughed at "even 'self-care' has become another to-do task on the checklist" because it's so true! I'm so focused on maximizing my productivity these days that I'm falling into the trap of feeling guilty whenever I'm not doing something productive. In a way the guilt is a good thing, because it's a wake up call that I've gone too far again and I'm losing myself.

    Good luck with your focus word!