Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last Year's Word of the Year: Listen

I've just celebrated another birthday. I continue to find this time of year a good time to look back on what I've been doing, and to look forward to what I'd like to work on or change. As part of this whole process a couple of years ago, I decided to choose a word to become my word for the year. This one word would help guide me through the year. The idea of one word is not mine, but I do love it.

The first year I chose patience. I'm not a patient person. I like people who get on board, keep up and make me laugh. I have little time for those who don't. This trait may not matter so much in the adult world, and in fact, served me quite well in the work place. However, as a mom, it's rather detrimental. I spent the year reminding myself to be patient with the kids. I wasn't perfect, but the yelling decreased drastically, I gave ourselves longer to get ready, and my stress decreased.

Last year I chose listen. How the word played out surprised me. I had expected listen to translate into have an awareness of our life and how we lived it. To know when we needed down time. To know when trouble brewed. To simple be aware.

However, the word ended up having little to do with the kids, and plenty to do with my husband and brother.

First with Kerry. I discovered it's terribly easy to grow complacent within a marriage. The kids matter most and are little. Hence, they come first. Putting them first though meant that Kerry kind of fell off my radar. I hadn't even realized his blip no longer registered.

Suddenly, listening to him mattered. So listen I did and now at the end of the year, we are both much more content within our relationship and marriage.

The second surprise was my brother. We've had little do with each other over the last decade or so, for a variety of reasons. But this past year has easily been the worst of his life. I knew from other family members what was going on, but then in the spring he phoned to tell me himself. It could not have been an easy call to make.

However, I surprised myself and listened and supported more than talked and judged. Now, here we are just about six months later and I'm getting along with him better than I ever have.   Although I was saddened by our poor relationship, one person alone can't fix the damage. I had pretty much accepted that we would never again be close. How pleased I am that we have mended fences.

I've had two good years with two good words and aim to make it three. Stay tuned to find out this year's word.

1 comment:

  1. Very compelling "year word" stories! I especially like how "listen" helped to mend relationships. It's true -- we don't listen nearly enough in this world.