2019 Word of the Year: Identity

Warning: what lies ahead is a post of honesty and sincere reflection.  (You’ve been warned.)

Many years ago, I gave up on making new year’s resolutions.  Instead, I embraced the trend of choosing a word, one word, that would be my focus and intent for the year ahead.  This past year, I focused on “rest” and then I had a baby….so we know how that worked out. This year though, my focus, my word is “identity”.

See for as long as I could remember, I have fallen into the trap of letting my identity be absorbed by who or what I am around.  

I am a teacher.

I am Jaime’s wife.

I am Jack’s mother.

However, the other night, on a rare date night, my husband profoundly asked me, “Well, who are you outside of those things?”  Thus the wheels in my brain started turning.

See the past year of my life has been a year of the highest highs and lowest lows.  On one side of the coin, I rejoiced in the healthy birth of my son that brought family together for quality time. However, on the other side, I have experienced the most paralyzing level of anxiety I have ever felt in my life. At the end of the day, I am left tired and weary and wondering who am I?

So that has brought me to my word, “identity”.  With that, I am going to seek out 3 meaningful things this year to find out when it comes to my core, who I am.

  • I will seek out self-care opportunities.

    • I am going to set before me the resolve to find those things that fill my cup.  Maybe a hobby. Maybe a pedicure. Maybe just sitting at the coffee shop with my favorite book (that I have read 100 times over).  Whatever it may be, I must find what fills me and seek out those things that make me, me.
  • I will find time for meaningful conversations and deeper friendships.

    • In my teaching world, we spend many times talking about students and their progress.  Often we miss out on talking about who we are outside of school. In my mother world, many of my conversations are centered around Jack and his needs.  Often we miss out on talking about who we are outside of mothering. Even in my times with my husband, it becomes us talking about our jobs or how tired we are and miss out on the opportunity to talk about “us”.  I am going to resolve to take time away from these things and truly seek to sit in front of people and ask “outside of all these things, how are you?” In return, I am going to shed away the facade and be authentic with where I am at in life.  

I will unplug and intentionally rest.

  • I know this is easier said than done, but one night a week, the phone will put away and the TV turned off.  As a family, we will take a break from our busy weeks and just be, rather than do. My life is so busy, with really wonderful things, that I have forgotten to just “be still”.  I will take time to work through and find out when all that is stripped away, who is Britany at the heart of it all.

A couple of years ago, I read a wonderful book Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.  One truth that I came away with that it has taken me two years to apply is: when you say yes to everyone else, there has to be a no, and it is often yourself. So this year, I claim “identity” and am nervously excited to say “yes” to myself and really find out who I am.

Thanks for joining me in this moment of self-reflection, and I would love to hear about what you are going to embrace in the new year.  Happy 2019!

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