Just Life

Hope | December 2019.

Many of y’all are sharing your 2020 words today, but I’m not quite ready to move on. A few weeks back I mentioned the 10 Things to Tell You podcast and the episode about reflecting back on 2019. In the show notes, Laura says “There are 10 questions in this episode meant to make you reflect upon on the last twelve months and get some clarity for what you want in the coming year. The prompts are a mix of light and deep, some to document a simple moment in time, others to help you grow.”

As I’ve been sitting with those questions and journaling responses, many of the things I documented in these dozen or so posts about Hope keep coming up. I’ve been doing this OLW thing for a while (maybe since 2008?) and every word makes an impact. Some, though, clearly more than others. I credit much of this year’s success to the simple process of these monthly check-ins (thank you Juliann and Honoré) and also … the right word at the right time. So – one last nod to 2019 and Hope:

1. What was the best part of the year?
* helping Sara get settled in Bristol
* settling into a “retired rhythm” with Marc
* finding my silver-haired self
* volunteering for Senior Services with my mom

2. What worked (and what didn’t)?
* morning quiet time for coffee, journaling, reading and centering prayer (I really notice the difference in my day when I skip this, or even cut it short)
* treadmill + The Balanced Life consistently
* eating breakfast (even a spoonful of peanut butter at 10am helps me eat better all day long)

and gah! so many nights eating dinner on the sofa (Marc)/counter (me) didn’t work at all!

3. What were the best conversations?
* every one I shared with my mom on our Canadian Adventure
* making a plan with my sister to read I Think You’re Wrong but I’m Listening in 2020
* every one I shared with Marc over Saturday night dinners
* honestly, every one I shared one on one with anyone – especially if we were face to face with a meal or coffee (and knitting) between us or side by side on walking trail

4. What was a discovery?
* PODCASTS!!
* Pantsuit Politics
* Richard Rohr
* centering prayer
* Sarah Bessey
* Fever Tree mixers
* The Enneagram (I think I’m a Type One)

5. Who was the most influential to me?
* my Friday morning small group and our discussions about faith, modern life and everything else (although really, most things really do devolve into those first two – or maybe just one? – of those categories)

6. What was the best entertainment consumed?
* Fleabag Season Two
* Ann Cleeves‘ Shetland series
* (thanks to Sara’s recent visit) Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel

7. What are you leaving behind this year?
* the color beige
* clothes that don’t make me feel good

8. What behaviors to I want to change?
* spending more time on tomorrow or yesterday than today
* saying “no” to social engagements; I’m ready to put myself out there more to deepen relationships and make new friends

9. Where did my beliefs shift?
* I can make a difference by being kind, positive and thoughtful

10. Who do you want to be in the new year?
* a better wife, mother and friend
* more listening, less judging, more yes, more grace (for me and everyone else), more nuance

One of my projects for this next year is to find – and follow – a Looking Back routine. I think these questions would work really well over a shorter timeframe and I’m going to give this a try next month. Stay tuned!

As always, thank you for reading and for being such a supportive part of my story. And especially for today, best wishes for a safe and happy beginning to the 2020’s!

13 Comments

  • Bonny

    Interesting questions, interesting answers! I was all ready to leave 2019 behind and forge forward into 2020, but it just didn’t feel right. I’m on the cusp of choosing a new word, but 2020 may be a year of dual words as I’m nowhere near ready to leave balance behind. I’m writing a couple “year in review” posts because even though 2019 had some tough times, I still feel he need to review before I wave goodbye in the rearview mirror. Happy New Year, Mary!

  • Honore´

    So appreciate your sharing the questions…great vehicles for positive and genuine reflecting… and your responses. I plan to journal my responses Sunday morning during my Sunday Baroque MSQT…

  • Sarah

    I like this framework a lot, and I may shamelessly borrow/steal it once I get back into the groove of journaling. In many ways, it reminds me of the really powerful parts of therapy for me: analyzing something once you’ve got hindsight and are at enough of a distance to remove the emotional impact.

    I wish you and your family a wonderful and fulfilling 2020!

  • Kat

    This is a very informative post! I love the questions…AND the answers! My *intentional* year is going to include some podcasts (I don’t think I could manage the list you have, but I am going to start small and see where that goes!)

    I also love the idea of making these questions work for a monthly review – and it could make those reviews so much more than photos and videos!

    Happy New Year to you and Marc!

  • Carole

    These are terrific questions for reflecting back on the year. I appreciate your candor in sharing your answers with us and I’m glad the word hope provided you with such a wonderful experience.

  • Margene

    Thank you for sharing so openly your thoughts on your 2019 word, hope. This post clearly shows what the word has meant to you, how you have grown with and from the word, and how thoroughly you reaped the reward of picking this word. Happy New Year, Mary!

  • Kym

    What a lovely way to reflect back on the year, Mary. I always like to spend January (at least the first few weeks) reflecting back on the year just ended. (For me, December is just too busy with “holiday stuff” to find the time and space for proper reflection.) I think that reflection time really helps set the tone for the new year — and always helps me figure out where I want to go next. I love your approach, and I thank you for sharing! Happy New Year. XO

  • Jane

    You have done lots of good reflecting on 2019 in this post. I love the little “hope” ornament. It is interesting how the words we choose become part of us. This will be my fifth year but I still recall some moments with each word.

  • Lydia

    I love these questions-really make you think. I’m contemplating Connect and Reconnect as my OLW for 2020. Have’t done a OLW in a while so maybe 2020 is the time to get back to many things. Happy New Year and here’s to what 2020 has in store.

  • karen

    loved reading your answers and the questions. Thank you for the podcast list (R. Rohr!) I listen to podcasts while driving around or doing chores.

  • Alexa

    A really interesting set of questions, and I’ve much enjoyed reading your thoughts and following your links. I really like the idea of using them for a monthly reflective practice – a year can seem a bit long.