word of the year

My Word-of-the-Year for 2021

This will be my 10th time choosing a word-of-the-year – check out this guidebook if you need help with yours! A word-of-the-year is a word that represents what you want to think/be/do/manifest in your life. It’s a theme, a direction, a guide, and a reminder

I can’t believe that it’s been a decade. That means that it’s been 10 years since I got serious about my self-care and mental health. 10 years since I’ve been blogging about my journey. 10 years since one word changed everything.

It’s been a beautiful decade.

Let’s look back at my previous word-of-the-years.

Surrender in 2012 was about surrendering to the concept of self-love and surrendering to my mental illness. That didn’t mean letting it control me, but admitting that it already was. Surrendering to needing help. Surrendering to knowing I wouldn’t magically get better when I found someone to love me.

Shine in 2013 was about shaking away my depression for the first time in my life and letting myself be radiant. I created and danced and wrote my heart out for strangers on the internet.

Strength in 2014 was about getting through another period of depression. I’d thought I’d come out the other side of my mental health but I’d begun to backslide. I kept doing the work to get better.

Depth in 2015 was about going deeper into every aspect of my life. Writing, art, and learning more about myself. I fell deeply in love that year.

Mend in 2016 was about trying to heal my toxic and abusive relationship with an alcoholic.

That word didn’t work out because it wasn’t a word for me, it was a word for someone else.

Magic in 2017 was about relying on the only thing that had ever got me through tough times – my spirituality. And as my relationship further dissolved – I needed it.

Surrender: Part Two in 2018 saw the final end to my toxic relationship, and the loss of my mother at the beginning of the year, and a new and amazing love toward the end. I let myself feel it all.

Soften in 2019 was about acknowledging that the abuse I had endured for three years had changed me. I felt mentally and emotional tense, like I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wanted to lean into the good things in my life.

Sacred in 2020 was about recognizing the sacred aspects of my life. I felt truly grounded and happy in my life and I wanted to acknowledge how special and sacred that was.

How did my word for 2020 go?

It was a success. I started 2020 with so many plans. For the first time in my life my anxiety was at a manageable level. I was excited to travel and try new things. I had a cruise planned and my first concert, and a week long vacation out of state.

And obviously, none of that happened.

But so many good things did. I learned so much about life and love. I grew even closer and more comfortable with my wife as those layers of trauma continued to heal. My home, my sacred space, became a huge focus for me. I stood up for myself and my boundaries. I felt like that word is woven throughout my year.

My Word-of-the-Year for 2021 is Pause.

I wrote this on my Patreon earlier this year and it is everything.

“The other day in my Facebook group someone posted about feeling frozen in time with everything going on. One of the commenters said that instead of feeling frozen they’re seeing it as an opportunity for a sacred pause. So of course I had to look that up.

There were a few definitions but the overwhelming theme was taking a pause to focus on your feelings. Whether that’s pausing in the middle of being angry/frustrated to take a breath. Pausing right before taking the first bite of your favorite chocolate. Or putting a pause on your day and letting yourself be without expectations.

And I really loved that concept.

Everyone keeps asking “What’s the first thing you’re going to do once all this is over?”

And for me, that answer is to take a week-long vacation, stay at home, and do absolutely nothing.

Because my current life has been without pause. I work 40 hours a week in retail and that’s been bananas. But there’s also been Blessing Manifesting. So many people are online right now and that’s been a plus for me in a lot of ways. So many folks are looking for bright, colorful, mental health related content and here I am! But there’s unfortunately been a downside as well. 

I can be overwhelmed with a lot messages and emails fairly easily (it’s more of an introvert thing than an anxiety thing at this point) and I find myself getting three times as many messages a day. Asking me to be a guest on podcasts, or live chats, or webinars, or to be involved in so many different projects now that people are home and have the means to work on them.

And that’s wonderful and it warms my heart but it is also very overwhelming.

And with more online exposure comes people who don’t get me or resonate with my work or who make assumptions about me.

In the last week I’ve been called irresponsible, been told to piss off, had someone who was disappointed in me, and been told to “do better”.

And let me be honest, in almost a decade of blogging I’ve had way waaaay worse thrown at me. I know I’m not everyone’s cup o’ tea, and I know that I make mistakes and there are things I could do better. But this week it’s got to me more than usual.

Because I’m doing the best I can.

And I kept thinking about that “sacred” pause – maybe because my word-of-the-year is sacred – and how I can apply to my life even though I am not at home.

So I’ve decided to take a little break from social media just for a few days to pause. 

Because that stretch of time to just breathe and enjoy, and be sounds pretty amazing right now.”

And months later – I still think about that.

I still work way too much. Most days I work 14 hours, split between Blessing Manifesting and my retail job. On my “days off” from my retail job, I’m usually working on Blessing Manifesting from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.

My wife is awesome and supports everything that I do, but I also know that I don’t pause and spend enough 1-on-1 time with her. I’m always working while we spend time together – half watching the movie or tv show and half doing something online.

I want to do better this year.

I want to push pause on spending time on the things that drain me.

Pause to enjoy the moment.

Pause to meet other needs that aren’t about productivity.

That’s why my word-of-the-year is “Pause”. What’s yours?