One Word With Mixed Meaning For 2012: My Daily Five

For the last few years I have chosen a word at the beginning of January designed to keep me honest and on track with my goals. I’m honest by nature so that wasn’t very challenging on it’s own and when it comes to accomplishing certain goals, I’m not sure they worked as well as I’d hoped.

So I’ve decided for 2012 that I need to get more specific and slightly boring about it.

I need a workhorse of a word to slog through the details that I hate. I need a better plan, one with more details and end dates otherwise I drift a bit too much in whatever direction I want to go for the day. Too many projects and nothing gets completed so I need a way to break it down.

Being naturally tangential can be great for ‘big picture’ people like me, but bad if you don’t have a team to share the detail work with. It’s all up to me what happens this year and I’d like to get a few more things done.

There’s nothing glamorous about this year’s word. It’s fairly boring like brushing your teeth or paying your bills on time … two areas that can’t be neglected without some obvious consequences.

The word I’ve chosen for 2012 is : DAILY - occurring, made, or acted upon every day

Because I tend to use mnemonic devices to remember things, I thought of a way to make my word ‘Daily’ even more useful to me. By breaking it down into the five letters that make up the word, I can assign a letter to each digit on my hand.

Here’s an example of why I need a little more help staying focused. When I looked at my hands and counted out D-A-I-L-Y, I was reminded of how rough my hands look most days. Due to loads of hand washing, (I’m germ conscious, but not obsessed) and not enough hand lotion use, I’ve always thought that my age was more obvious on the backs of my hands than on my face.

That belief may be changing soon as my face seems to be catching up, but I’m okay with that. I’ve got more important things to focus on than worrying about getting older, something that I’ve considered a privilege since my early 30s and even more so now as I see more people my age and younger dying too soon.

See what I mean about my tangential thinking needing help to focused … I started with a simple task assignment beginning with my thumb and the letter D and the next thing you know, my mind has moved on to aging and early death. That’s how it happens for me, one minute I’m here and the next I’m on to something else.

Which leads me to the DAILY five.

Here’s the short version.

D – Diet: My daily diet needs to be better, less sugar and more fruit & veg.

A – Appreciate: This one’s not usually an issue for me, but I want to be sure others in my
life feel it by being less distracted when I’m with them.

I – Imagine: I want to keep dreaming the big dreams. I love living with possibility.

L – Listen:  I have got to get better with this. I still talk way too much sometimes.

Y – Yield: The return on my investment of time, energy, and emotion, and is it worth it?

I’m keeping it simple to stay focused and hopefully it will be as easy as a DAILY wave of my hand.

How about you … any words or links to words of your own for 2012?

Completion – 2011 Is About – Completion

I chose this photo John took of me because it looks as if I am a bit overwhelmed which is how I feel at times heading into this new year thinking of all that must be completed.

Creative projects and story ideas trail after me like streaming ribbons on a kite’s tail each temporarily aloft when the power of a strong wind lifts them or my feet move fast enough to keep them up in the air. Never one to be at a loss for inspiration, I struggle with another aspect which is equally important … completion.

This is not to say that I don’t get things done because I recognize the power I have to do what some might consider impossible. My history is made up of multiple instances where even I can look back and say with a bit of astonishment, ” How did I do that ? “

But when it comes to some of the more creative things, I tend to get bogged down in details that can derail an idea or project fairly quickly pushing it to the backseat while the newer, prettier one gets to sit up front with me like a favored child for the day.

While I often take huge leaps of faith in some areas, when it comes to the creative areas of my life, I tend to research too long or look to those who have gone before for guidance and direction when if I just get in the car and go, basic directions and intuition can usually take me to the place I need to be.

I have a long list of things which must be completed in 2011 some of which are practical and important for everyday life while others are necessary for my creative spirit which is really my foundation and a sort of gas tank that fuels my enthusiasm for daily life.

January is all about the practical as immigration issues loom large with testing, large cash outlays, appointments, and interviews, all requiring my immediate and focused attention. Add to that, my UK driving test must be taken with both theory and practical tests as I have been here way too long to be driving with my American license and you may begin to see why I am obsessing a bit about completion.

While John and I together and individually had the good fortune to spend much of 2010 traveling, this year will find me staying and working on projects closer to our home in Cornwall. I am looking forward to planting myself in one place for the bulk of the year with only short trips away and a few extended visits to see my family in America. Knowing from experience what it takes for me to accomplish a task, I think some of my many creative goals will certainly be able to be completed during this new year.

One of my Big Bag Of Dreams Goals that I spoke about here will have to wait another year even though it’s been throughly researched and planned. Based on where I am with other goals on my list, hosting my BBOD’s workshop this year feels like skipping a few chapters when reading a ” how to ” book so I am putting it in the backseat until next year. The favored front seat has a long list of occupants waiting for their spin around the block and if I can keep the pushing and shoving to a minimum, I think I might be able to give most them a turn.

Completion is often defined as ” The act or process of completing or the quality or state of being complete. “

While I don’t feel a need to tick off boxes each day to note what I’ve accomplished, I do see how the act of completing certain goals can help one feel more complete, a word which in its first part is defined as ” having all necessary parts. “

In 2011, I will be working on completion. Have you chosen a word to guide you through this year or a particular goal that tops your list? If you have, please share it below and include a link if you’ve written about it somewhere. Feel free to think about it and come back later to share too.

Here’s to dreaming and doing in this new year !

I want to thank Marie Scudder for her post over at Vision and Verb today. My one word post for 2011 was still trying to gel until I read what she had to say in her piece, ” Paper and String.”

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Mister Rogers would be proud of the people in the little village I now call home. We’ve spent the last week fairly well snowed in and the care and concern I’ve witnessed among my neighbors has been lovely to see. I’ve never lived in a place where I knew so many people. In a village of 500, it is easy to learn not only the names of the people who live here, but often a bit of their history as well. Today I want to share a little with you about a few of my neighbors who help make this such a special place to live. If you are unsure as to who I am referring to when I mentioned  Mister Rogers earlier, this little video will help explain, but be forewarned it might make you cry.

Fred Rogers always began his children’s program with a special song about being neighbors and I’ve mixed in the lyrics which I’ve highlighted in blue with a few pictures of my neighborhood and neighbors.

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

This is the way to my neighbor Janey’s house. Yesterday when I couldn’t get to Port Isaac to have my stitches removed from a small procedure done the week before, Janey volunteered to take them out for me. Now a clinical psychologist, she trained as a nurse in her first career and offered to help when she heard me saying that I might have to do it myself.

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,

In the three pictures below, you can see Gary and Margaret who own the village pub. Margaret is also the post mistress and while I’ve seen them involved in fundraising for charity events more times than I can remember, they have been such good neighbors during this week of snow that it’s really been something to see. Our village shop which houses the post office among other things became a sort of command central staying open and supplying necessary items to keep the people in our community from doing without. Watching Margaret directing and coordinating the restocking efforts while continuing with her regular responsibilities was impressive. Her husband Gary was able after the first 24 hours to make trips in and out of our village maneuvering through the icy lanes in his 4 wheel drive vehicle picking up supplies for the village shop and giving people rides on some of his trips.

Gary cooking at a fundraiser for cancer research.

Gary behind the bar in the pub.

I had trouble finding a picture of Margaret in my files, but managed to find this one of her in the pub. Margaret is rarely seen behind the bar which explains why it looks as it does. I was shooting on the fly and not very well I’m afraid.

The flowers and cottage above belong to Jeff, a 77 year old man who I kept seeing with Gary when I would happen to run into them at the village shop as they were moving about the village giving some people rides in between their frequent trips to get supplies. I usually bump into Jeff three or four times a week and I was surprised to see that I did not have any pictures of him to post.

I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

Len and Mary are the couple you see here with their dog. I caught them just after they had returned our neighbor Betty’s dog after taking it up on the moor for walk for her. Having watched Len and Mary pick up deliveries from the village store all week to take around to some of the older people who could not walk to the shop, I can almost guarantee that what ever is in the bags they’re carrying, it is almost certainly a delivery for someone who can’t manage the snow. All of the good neighbors I mentioned have been tireless during this time making sure everyone who needed something was able to get it. I wanted to acknowledge these folks who did so much for the neighborhood and managed to look as if they were having a good time doing it.

So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?

Won’t you please,
Won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?


One Word – My Word

I took this photograph at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center in New York so many years ago I can barely remember when. I always go there to watch the skaters when I visit Manhattan and once I even took time to skate myself. While I may not remember what year this was taken, I do remember the man in the center of the photograph. If you look, you can see him with his arms up, extended and open in the type of grand gesture one would usually associate with a competitive ice skater. What you can’t see in this picture is that he appeared to be in his seventies, with slowed movement, and frankly not much more than enough skill to stay on his feet.

While his posture and grand movements initially drew my eye it was the look on his face that made me unable to look away. To say he glowed would barely be adequate to describe the undiluted joy that he seemed to be experiencing. I was captivated in such a way that I have never forgotten the impression he made on me that day. His willingness to be himself with no apparent self-consciousness, moving as if he were completely alone all the while surrounded by an audience of spectators, caused me to make a vow right then. With no one listening but me, I said to myself, ” I want to be like that when I grow old.”  Now, years later I think, why wait ?

I’ve been looking at this photo a good bit since scanning the original into my computer a few months ago. For years it had a special place on my refrigerator door, but now here in Cornwall, we have a much smaller refrigerator and it’s covered with cabinetry so there’s no place for it there.

Lately, I found myself wanting to write about my experience at the ice rink that day but I’ve been putting it off waiting for the time to be right. I knew this morning was finally that time when I read Meg Casey’s post for today. If you haven’t been by Meg’s place yet you need to go. She is one off those people who quietly and repeatedly makes a difference. While reading her ” One Word “ post this morning I realized just what I wanted to say about my man above.

With so many of the bloggers I read choosing one word to act as a guide or theme for the year, I thought a great deal about what word I might find useful. I kept being drawn back to this photograph and thinking about it with regard to my word choice. At first I thought perhaps embrace might be a good word for this year, but it felt restrictive somehow…more about holding on to something instead of how I really think this picture makes me feel.

After reading Meg’s post this morning, I came back to ” my skater ” photograph and decided that my word for 2010 would be:

ENCOURAGE

1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.

2. to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.

3. to promote, advance, or foster.

My unknown skater has been a silent inspiration to me since the day I took his photograph. His freedom to express himself without fear of ridicule is an example that I find inspiring and with that inspiration comes a measure of courage and spirit, as well the confidence to live boldly and do it now!  Plainly put…I am encouraged by his actions.

In 2010, I will be writing from time to time about people like Meg Casey who is encouraging to others just by sharing her own journey. If you have chosen a word for this year, please link in the comment section so others may find it.  You never know who may find encouragement in something you say or do. I’d be willing to bet my skater never knew …