happy new year

Lessons from the Nest – The Filling

Even without resolutions or big changes for the New Year, January is a time of possibilities. Of new starts and renewed focus. Of vows for greater generosity and more time to recharge. It is a time of optimism and joy.

Every January I feel hopeful for what is to come and this year is no exception. It’s honestly the most excited I’ve been for a new calendar on the wall in a long time…

Recently a wise woman told me that she has a word of the year instead of goals. It serves as a guide for her throughout the next 12 months – a sort of lighthouse to keep her bearings. While I will still write goals for the year, I decided to adopt this practice too.

As I run through the timeline of the last year and all the events that lead me to the gift of a sabbatical, I feel grateful for the feeling of emptiness that pushed me to rest. Through numerous conversations and transparent moments, I have connected with so many others that feel the same sense of being off course. That nagging feeling that you have traveled down a path meant for someone else or a feeling that you are not living your fullest life. Being off course brings dread and hollowness inside. Emptiness pushes into the place where your sense of direction used to reside.

But I now emphatically believe that empty is also the gift of a clean slate, a waiting outstretched hand. I am so thankful now for my time of emptying because it has prepared me to hear my own voice and find my true path. Without losing my way, I would not be drinking in such goodness today; I would not know the joy of filling my days with all the things that I choose. Being empty meant I could be filled with the things I intentionally choose. Being empty is so often necessary to find the openness needed for a new beginning, especially in a new year.

I didn’t know it at the time but emptiness is a gift. A gift that takes away what you don’t need so you can receive all that you do.

So as January looms, I know my word for this year is FILLED. Filled with goodness. Filled with giving. Filled with gratitude. I choose in the next year to be fully filled with what I need and to fulfill the goals and lessons from this midlife intermission.

Most importantly, I choose to fill those I love with all that I have to give, to work in my community to fill up others in need, and to fill my path with work that sparks my passions – that is what the word FILL will mean for me this year.

P.S. This year will also be filled with early morning carpools, dogs with muddy paws jumping on couches, kids that hide boxes of Club Crackers under their beds, a husband’s loud protests at Meatless Mondays, a continued love/hate relationship with the scale, leaky faucets, tires with nails in them, and general crabbiness because life isn’t perfect but some days it gets pretty darn close.

And my wish to everyone that has so kindly supported me during this midlife intermission is the sincere hope that your own word for the New Year will fill you with all that you need – that your word will serve as a lighthouse to keep your path on it’s best course!

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