A Word for 2013: Presence

Since 2011, I’ve chosen a word to set my intention for the year ahead when New Year’s Day rolls around. For 2011, my word was Space. For 2012, my word was Clarity. I chose each of them because they reflected a quality I was hoping for more of in my life.

Did choosing a word work? It’s hard to say. In 2011, I actually brought a whole lot of new things into my life. I did make some difficult choices around letting things go, but the truth is that I actually started the year with more space than I ended it with. When it was time to choose my word for 2012, I reflected on that experience. I knew that choosing a word wasn’t enough. I needed a word that I was willing to work with. A word that would be about more than casting a wish out into space. After some back and forth, Clarity came to me.

spring tight
Photo Credit: mindfulness on Flickr

I can say that I actually do feel that I ended 2012 with greater clarity than I started it with. Somewhat ironically, I worked harder to create space during 2012 than I did during 2011. I had to – I was under a pretty severe time crunch. At the beginning of the year I had something like five jobs. Five. They weren’t all very big jobs, but still, it was a lot. I felt as if I was under constant time pressure. I was pulled in a whole lot of different directions, and I wasn’t always doing any of it all that well. I had to get clear with myself about what my priorities were, and what I did and didn’t have time for. It wasn’t easy, but in the process, I found the clarity I needed to create space in my life for myself.

With 2013 starting, I’m actually in a pretty good spot. I feel like I have a sense of direction, and I know where I’m going. My word this year isn’t about self-exploration, so much. It’s about making sure that I’m actually taking the time to enjoy my life. With my daughter Hannah rapidly approaching her eighth birthday, it’s ever more apparent to me that I need to make sure I’m actually pausing to see and appreciate what’s going on around me. Since I work from home, it’s really easy for me to blur the lines between the professional and personal, and spend a whole lot of time with my face in my phone, or trying to finish an article when I should be doing something with my kids. I guess you could say I want to be more present in my life, so that I don’t miss it.

This led to my word for 2013: Presence. It’s about cultivating mindfulness. It’s about focusing on what’s in front of me, and spending less time looking at a screen. Will the year bring me what I hope? I think that’s up to me. I need to be willing to work on it – my experience in 2011 showed me that. I chose the word Presence because this is important to me, so I would say that I am willing. Now I just need to put it into action. The first way I’m doing that is by Crafting my Life. I’m going to spend a little less time writing, and a little more time living.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you choose a word, or a theme, for the year? What are you hoping 2013 holds for you? Please leave a comment and let me know. And Happy New Year!

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  1. I love this! My friend Regina does this too, and got me thinking. My word for the year is “forward,” and it came to me actually pretty quickly. I’m at the halfway mark on a whole lot of things (including a realization that I am firmly entrenched in “middle” age, and I will be delighted if there are still more years ahead than I have behind me), and I don’t want to let myself stop and go all aimless partway through any of them. I need to face forward, look forward, move forward, and think forward. And I’m excited about the year to come!

    Happy New Year, Amber!

  2. Happy new year!

    Presence is a great word to work with. You don’t have to do anything in particular … just be present with whatever you happen to be doing. Difficult to do, but simple.

    As for me, I’m working with a couple words and a few big goals. But I’ve decided not to share them. Last year, the day I shared my word for the year turned out to be the day I got the bad news about my pregnancy at the time. Of course, that all worked out more or less OK, but still. This year I’m keeping my mouth (literal and metaphorical) shut.
    Rachael’s last post … 2013: Here We Are!My Profile

  3. This was good fun last year, and, in many ways, really helped to shape my 2012. 2012 was unbelievable for me on so many levels – guided by ‘trust’ and ‘pace’. For 2013, I’m still thinking it over – maybe sanctuary, maybe practice. Happy 2013!
    Melissa’s last post … The Pace of WonderMy Profile

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