Four years ago the company I work for underwent a database conversion. To say work was stressful would be a huge understatement. There were emergency conference calls, stacked up problems to address daily, fires to put out all day, every day. It was a trying time for our team, but also for myself as an individual who always wanted to over deliver and leave each day with a sense of closure and fulfillment. It was nearly impossible. During a routine team meeting, we opened up with an icebreaker stating a word we wanted to enter the new year with, one that would help us get through the chaos we were experiencing in the business during that challenging time. My word: breathe.
I remember feeling such overwhelm at times that I needed the gentle reminder to literally take a deep breath. Crunched over my keyboard and eyes glued to my screen, hours would pass and my muscles would be tight and my heart racing and my breath shallow. Breathe.
I kept this post it on my laptop, even once we'd passed the tumultuous season of database conversion. I kept it there during my cross country move and promotion. I kept it there during my 2nd maternity leave and the hard return that followed. I kept it there during rough days and productive days. And now, four years later, as I write this, I volley between taping it together or deciding if it's time for a new word to be my mantra moving forward.
If you know me, you know I'm all about that growth. I am constantly seeking to learn, improve, and move forward as a person. In the past four years, since I wrote that word, I think I've lived that example and continue to. Breathing was a good reminder on how to move forward with ease when shit hit the fan. Without breath, we can't see the brighter future, recognize that what's happening is supposed to, and to be really real, live-both literally and figuratively.
I won't ever say I've mastered something, because as a mom especially, just when you think you've got it all down-the schedule, the discipline, the bedtime routine, it usually schools you, real good. Your PHD in parenting goes back to you feeling like a freshman in college or better yet, still awaiting your acceptance letter. But, I will say, I've gotten a lot better at breathing, so I'm changing my reminder to something new. My word has evolved as my needs, wants, and life have evolved. My new mantra isn't to just breathe. It's to live.
Live in the moment. Live the life you want. Live by example. Live and love. Live because the moments are fleeting. Live because you don't know what tomorrow brings. Live because the bigger picture is always more important than the smaller details, but the smaller details are also what leads you to the bigger picture.
I'm closing out my year with my typical reflections on the current year and goal setting practices for the next, but I'll say this year has been an extra special one to me. I set some big goals. I hit them. And I am also learning a bit more how I want to essentially live. No expert status here, but knowing what you want your word, your mantra, to be is half the journey of getting there. I hope you experience everything you want to in 2020, but most of all, I hope you live life the way you intend to. Don't look ahead too much. Don't look behind to much. Don't count down the minutes to bedtime. Don't think about everything else while you have everything in front of you. Don't stress; you're not always in control and that's ok. Don't let what you want overshadow what you already have. Just live.