Some years. my ONE WORD doesn’t come to me until five minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Some years, I have a long list of words to sort through before ONE WORD rises to the top. This year, I knew my ONE WORD by mid-December. The word was floating around in my less conscious and while Christmas shopping, I found this …
And I knew that this ONE WORD was definitely supposed to be my focus for the next year.
As always, I first went to the dictionary so I could see how closely my definition matched what Webster had to say…
1) To give flavor to
2) To have experience of
3) To taste or smell with pleasure
4) To delight in
Not surprisingly, Webster expanded my thoughts on how my ONE WORD could affect the year ahead. While my initial attraction to the word was that it might help me slow down and be more in the moment, this broader definition helped me see that to savor something or someone is much more than just being in the moment with them.
Here is how I foresee 2019 being a year with SAVOR at the core!
To give flavor to-
The thought that I could be the one adding flavor/ spice/ sweetness to any given situation had not crossed my mind. This is a very active use of the word SAVOR. This means I can be fully aware of the unique flavor I bring to a conversation or relationship or project or view. No one can bring what I can. That doesn’t always mean that everyone involved will love the flavor I bring, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I honor my own uniqueness – that I show up authentically – that I recognize when my active presence might change the flavor of any moment. Simply writing that makes me feel powerful. What is it like to recognize that I am my own special brand and when I am added to the mix, it’s different? It’s cool, that’s what it is.
To have experience of –
I now have less years ahead of me than I have behind me. My opportunities to experience certain things have already passed and other experiences have a short window. I can no longer say “next year” or “in a few years” or “later” to as many things and believe that I will have the time to do them. That is not meant to be morbid – it is reality. I played a ton of racquetball when I was in my late 20s and early 30s, which is good because my knees are not healthy enough for me to play racquetball today. This year I plan to say yes to more experiences. I am already booked for ziplining in Maui and snorkeling in an old volcano. Both of those things have me slightly terrified, but I’m going to do them because I want to have those experiences. I foresee more experiences and less stuff in my future.
To taste or smell with pleasure –
Remember when you learned about your tongue in elementary school and how different areas of the tongue are sensitive to different tastes? Salty – sour – sweet – bitter? We use those words often in describing relationships or life experiences. My new car is so sweet. Our relationship went sour. That conversation left me feeling bitter. His language is a bit salty. We use those words because in some way those experiences are something we can almost taste. I want to taste my life experiences. I want to be so present that my senses come alive. This means that I am going to bring all of me to wherever I am and stay there. I have a terrible habit of playing the game where I am always looking ahead – “tomorrow at this time”, “one week from today”, “in 2 years”. I have no control over being anywhere in the future – only here – only now. Wherever I am, I want to be there. I have practiced this over the last week and I can feel a difference. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I can feel it in my body. I feel full. I feel alive. I feel aware. Those are all great things to feel!
To delight in –
Life is too short to waste time crabbing about how it isn’t measuring up to my expectations. From the time we are small, we begin to learn words for the negative side of life. I remember an old research study where they asked a girls’ basketball team to describe how they felt about themselves when they were playing well. There were only a few words to describe the positive performance. Then they asked them to describe their game when they weren’t playing well and the descriptors came pouring out. Over and over again, we see that we have more words to describe the negative or dark side of something or someone than we do to describe the upside. That is really sad to me. Part of savoring for me is learning to look for the best in whatever place I find myself. A simple example is from 2 days ago. The park where I usually walk my dogs has turned into a treacherous ice rink. The hill up to the park is solid ice and most of the sidewalk has been covered with melted snow that freezes when the temps are cold. It is very challenging to find any dry spots. As I was walking the dogs this week, I felt myself begin to be frustrated with the situation, and a bit fearful about slipping and falling. Last year I got a concussion falling on the ice in the park. The year before, one of our dogs tore her ACL slipping on ice in the park. I have good reason to be crabby about our walking paths! However, I remembered that I wanted to savor life this year. In that moment, I chose to look up at the very blue sky, and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I decided that we could walk safely if we simply walked slower and took smaller steps. As I looked to my left and right I saw patches of frozen, crunchy grass that would provide sure footing. Before I knew it, I was relaxing and thoroughly enjoying my chance to be enjoying this walk with my two beautiful dogs. One of them is 11+, which is older than any of our other huskies have lived. She is healthy and strong and I thought about how grateful I am to still have her in my life. By the time we got home, I was filled with delight – truly! I had a smile on my face and I was filled with gratitude for the experience I just had. The cool thing is that the ice hadn’t melted – the slippery spots hadn’t disappeared – it took longer than I had planned, but I shifted what I was focused on and by choosing to experience the best in the moment, I was filled.
It’s going to be a good year. I look forward to learning how to bring my own unique flavor to life, to find the best in all situations, to say yes to more experiences, and to fully be wherever I am. Here’s to a year of SAVOR!!!!!!!!!