It’s already Sunday afternoon on this long Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. And, I’m exhausted! Yesterday was a low-key day at home, but today was all about church, Sunday School and a birthday party at the American Girl store at the mall. While Elyse and her doll attended the posh party, I ran around the mall and got a few errands done. After I had checked several items off of my To Do List, I had about a half an hour to kill before making my way back to the store to pick up my little party-goer. I brought my tablet along with me in case I had some time to get some reading done, but instead, sat on one of the comfy loungers on the first floor and took some time to really think about the message woven into Pastor Sandy’s sermon from earlier this morning. Since it had been over a month since I’ve attended worship (the holidays and an errant snowstorm kept me from my one-hour of Sunday solitude), I was looking forward to attending this morning’s service and hearing Pastor Sandy speak. I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that I feel as if she’s speaking directly to me each week. This Sunday’s sermon focused on the need for change that a new year brings about. Pastor proposed that instead of a New Year’s Resolution, just think of one word that you would choose to focus your thoughts and actions on during the coming year. As someone who doesn’t really make New Year’s Resolutions myself and who has been trying to focus on being more present in her life, I was instantly intrigued by this idea.
Since Piccadilly died, I’ve been trying my best to be more mindful and present. I ended 2018 and began 2019 with the word “Mindful” flashing like a neon sign in my mind. However, after Pastor suggested choosing a word to guide you in the new year, I decided that I wanted to refine the word “Mindful” a bit more. I definitely still feel that it’s important to be present and to try to find something special and/or noteworthy at least once a day. But, as I’m living in these moments and taking stock of what’s happening around me, how do I want to feel in that moment? That’s when the word “Merry” instantaneously replaced “Mindful” on my imaginative neon sign. I’ve been thinking about the word “Merry” and what connotations that it brings to mind for quite some time now. Of course, this word has gotten a lot of attention over the past couple of months, as it is synonymous with the holiday season. However, what does the word really mean? Insert dictionary.com’s definition here:
1. Full of cheerfulness or gaiety; joyous in disposition or spirit: a merry little man.
2. Laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous; hilarious: a merry time at the party.
3. Archaic . causing happiness; pleasant; delightful.
So, what does this mean for me? Am I going to suddenly start running through the streets of McLean like Ebenezer Scrooge singing about all of the joys of life? Um, no (insert overly joyful emoticon smiley face here). What it does mean is that I plan on using this word and its delightful little connotation to guide my behavior, thoughts and actions throughout 2019. If something doesn’t feel right and/or I don’t get a feeling of joy or happiness from it, I’m not going to push forward. I often try to force things to happen because I feel that they should occur; not because I actually want them to take place. Part of this may be due to my frustrating desire to be a “people-pleaser.” And in my futile attempt to please everyone that I know, when all is said and done, I’m the least-pleased of the bunch. Granted, the three individuals that I live with are often the exception to the people-pleasing rule.
Toward the end of last year, I found myself pulling back and/or not getting too involved with things that I didn’t feel passionately about. My ability to say “no” to things that I otherwise would have normally agreed to out of guilt, really helped alleviate a lot of stress as well as provided me with the opportunity to practice mindfulness. And in this day and age of go-go-go, it’s hard to divorce yourself from all.of.the.things and to just be happy doing those few things that bring you true happiness. With the word “Merry” as my guide, I hope to find some additional clarity and focus throughout the coming year. I want to figure out my definition of “Merry” and what I need to do to bring this feeling about more often. Most of us feel merry from November 1st until December 31st, however, how can we continue to experience joy throughout the cold winter months, as the world is reborn in spring and into the dog days of summer? Stay tuned!
Oh, and since it’s been a hot minute since I posted a workout selfie, here are some current physique photos. They were taken right after yesterday’s upper body workout. I’m working hard putting on some lean muscle by eating at a slight caloric surplus and pushing myself in my workouts. Believe it or not, staying consistent with my workouts and eating nutritious food is two ways that I find my “merry!”
‘Til next time, friends!