Revisiting Slow: My Word of the Year

Revisiting slow as my word of the year is something I had planned to do mid-year. It is usually a good evaluation point for me. How is that word guiding my year? Was it the right choice? Do I need to make adjustments?

I have been choosing a guiding word for about a decade now. It always seems to come to me around Thanksgiving or the beginning of December, what I want my new word to be. Last year was no different.

Slow came to me earlier last fall, and when I sat down to work on my PowerSheets Prep Work, I knew that it was definitely going to be my word. See, at that point, we had been in the midst of showing our house several times each week. I was still homeschooling during this time, trying to get Emma to her band practices as well as other outside activities. It may not seem like a lot in writing, but it was a lot. And I struggled.

Revisiting Slow: It didn’t start out Slow

So imagine my surprise come mid-January when we were starting the moving process? That definitely was not slow. In fact, it was an insane period of time. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Matt and I were unsure if everything would go through or not. We were going through all the right steps, and everything was going very smoothly, but I still didn’t think it was real.

And then we moved. Then shortly after we moved the stay-at-home order went into effect.

Instead of easily settling into a new rhythm, setting up our home, finishing our homeschool year strong, we went into emergency mode. Honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I’m sure that many of you felt the same way. So, I did what any normal person would do, I watched a lot of news and tried to re-direct my energy to making sure that we were all healthy.

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When the World is Shut Down

Honestly, revisiting slow is kind of hard for me right now. Slow is what we are all doing. There are no activities, we aren’t getting together with friends, we aren’t in our church building. But, it isn’t intentionally slow, the way that I meant that word when I chose it. Instead it is forced slowness, and I’m not sure how I feel about that right now.

I think that we all could use a do-over for 2020. The plans and goals that I had at the beginning of 2020 haven’t been at the forefront of my mind most of this year. Instead, I have been in crisis mode.

I’m sure others feel the same. Almost being paralyzed to move forward, because you don’t know what is coming next.

Goal Planning in the Midst of Uncertainty

There are some goals which I continue to work on throughout all of this uncertainty. However, I definitely have a problem with making plans and without having all of the information. I thrive on information. I like to know all sides before I commit to something, and in this crazy year, I feel like I don’t have enough information. Or, perhaps, it is that it isn’t the *right* kind of information.

It is easy to get paralyzed, and into a cycle of “well what if the information changes?” And, let’s be honest, the information changes almost daily at this point.

But, little by little progress is still progress. It may not be the progress you expected, and it may even be different from what you thought you would be working towards at the beginning of the year, but it is still progress. You are still moving forward.

Revisiting Slow: Where are the Rhythms?

As we think about our return to homeschool this fall, I know that I want to incorporate new rhythms into our days. I am a seasonal gal, and I know that if I want to continue to strive for slow this year, I need to revamp my rhythm.

Revisiting slow as shown me that I am letting the days get away from me. We are going through our normal rhythm right now.

  • I wake up early and have my coffee & quiet time/work
  • The kids get up for breakfast and Bible
  • We start our school day
  • The kids work on their passion projects (currently a TV show they have created called “The Crazies”)
  • I flurry about the house trying to clean up as much as possible even though I don’t have a good cleaning rhythm in our new home – heck, I haven’t even fully unpacked from our move yet
  • Dinnertime comes and I am not excited about cooking the way that I used to be
  • Evening routines are kind of chaotic, and then it is time for bed, just to start all over the next morning.

It’s interesting because I am usually very good at keeping rhythms. I think that when we moved I thought I would have more time to process our new home, more time to figure out exactly how I would run our new home. Revisiting slow after the move was something I considered briefly, but there was too much to do to slow down at that point.

Revisiting Slow: Fall Rhythm

In order to make progress, we need to address rhythms. You would think with all of the chaos outside the home, I would want to have a nice controlled environment inside the home. But, the chaos outside of the home has given me an excuse to not do a whole lot inside the home. If you constantly are waiting for the next shoe to drop, it is kind of hard to find a rhythm.

But, it is all about choices, isn’t it? Fear doesn’t need to be a part of the process (although I feel like fear is a big part of it at the moment – at least for me). As I began revisiting slow, I realized that I needed to pull on my big-girl panties and move forward with what I knew I could control – that is what is inside my four walls. Hence figuring out my fall rhythm.

What will the Fall Rhythm look like?

I’m not entirely sure yet what the fall rhythm will look like. Thankfully, I have a bit more time before fall comes. Right now, I am focusing on those first days of homeschool in our new home. Once the homeschool rhythm is worked out, all the other rhythms of our day tend to work themselves out as well.

I do know that stepping away from all of the information that has been in the news as of late has been helpful to me. I don’t want to be uninformed (see intense need for all the information above), but I also don’t want to be put into a situation where everything I see is negative. Not one positive thing seems to come out ever. That is demoralizing, and it isn’t reality.

So our fall rhythm will be less technology (hard when I have my career is online-based). More nature. This is the epitome of slow to me. When I think about revisiting slow, I think back to my rhythms of canning tomatoes in the fall, processing apples into applesauce and apple jelly. Reading with my kids, exploring nature, letting them be in the dirt.

All of these areas mean slow to me.

Revisiting Slow: Seeking Margin

A few years ago I started talking about margin. I taught workshops on creating margin in your days – either to include more self-care, or to manage your homeschool schedules, or to do both. That margin was something that my overwhelmed life needed at the time.

Would you guess that I am overwhelmed again? I’m sure many of you are as well. There is a lot going on, and because of that, margin seems to be needed, again.

It isn’t margin from outside activities since few things are going on in our communities currently, but instead margin from all of the extra. How are you spending your days? Do large swaths of time get eaten away but you don’t know where the time went?

Currently, that is where I am at. So, I will be putting myself through my own Creating Margin workshop for a little while, I want to be able to get back to what is important, and that is a key part of creating margin, figuring out what is most important.

I will be opening up this workshop to you again soon – so please let me know if you are interested here.

The Bottom Line

Revisiting your word of the year is an important part of the goal planning process. Understanding how each season throws different challenges at you is important, and that is why you want to constantly revisit the goals you have set for yourself.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful fall. I don’t know exactly what is ahead, but I am planning to lean into my rhythms so that I can feel a bit more grounded.

How has your word of the year stacked up to the year that we have had? Did you drop it completely, or have you managed to continue working on your goals through all of the crazy times we are living in? Let me know in the comments below!

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One Comment

  1. I think “slow” was a very appropriate word for this year. I have slowly been trying to achieve my goals. The pandemic has forced us to be patient and reflective among other things.

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