The practice of naming a word for the year appeals to me, rather than making resolutions that are too easy to break.
I began claiming such catchwords about twenty years ago. And anyway there’s nothing like a good meaty challenge to start the new year.
I’m attracted to the state I imagine I could possibly achieve, that day when I’m calm and peaceful. This year I also thought about patient, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring as serenity. Another word that comes to mind is centred, not buffeted by whatever is going on around me.
The world seemed rickety before 2019 even began
My vision has not completely recovered from cataract surgery. New spectacles will fix it, but I can’t order them until the ophthalmologist returns from his skiing holiday in North America at the end of January. In the meantime, my reading capability is way below par, and I feel less stable on my feet than I’d like .
A skin cancer on my face must be removed. The wound will need five or six sutures. I’m vain. And I’m a sook and scared.
My granddaughter and three of my much-loved great-grandchildren will soon move to the other side of the world for three years.
A grandson and his partner are moving to Far North Queensland.
My centre of gravity seems to have shifted. I need to change. Serenity, here I come!
Plans for creating serenity in my life
My quick-fix, go-to action, is to fake it until I make it. I learned about this in Sociology 101 a very long time ago. It often works for me because pretending something can lead to the reality. If I wanted to do something new, something like a career change, start a new job or take on some other challenge, I often needed to pretend I could do it until I learned how to perform naturally.
I hope that changing from a state of reactivity to one of serene acceptance will work in the same way. Perhaps I can pretend to be serene.
The word serenity is a gentle one which seems to flow on a sighing breath. I love the sound of it. Just thinking or saying it makes me feel calmer. I plan to say it often. And I’ll try to remember it when my thoughts become jagged and unruly.
Then there is the Serenity Prayer, , loved in many circles for its calming effect. It demands much of those who say it, but it is comforting. I have a copy of the first part of this prayer on my desk.
The Serenity Prayer
What might people see when I’m serene?
People like my husband, John, and my children and grandchildren will see me smile more. My face will be relaxed and peaceful.
They’ll see that I respond to what happens, rather than react without thinking.
They’ll notice that I talk less about my sadness, anger and fear and my speech will be contained and appropriate. I won’t moan because I’ll have accepted what I can’t change.
I won’t engage in gossip and the delivery of useless opinions, however amusing I try to make them. Instead, I’ll accept other people and their decisions without judgement.
There’s no guarantee that any of this will happen, of course. The best I can promise myself will be to keep working towards my goal of serenity in 2019.