At the start of 2017, I decided, after much deliberation (and with the help of Lara Casey's Powersheets), that my word of the year would be Bloom.
The idea of blooming came on the heels of a very busy 2016 that started with the birth of my son followed closely by news that we would move to Texas.
Of course, I dug my heels in on the move, even as I wanted it. I wrote about my word for 2017 in a blog post in July, and now I'm back to recap what Bloom meant for me as I moved through 2017. I had no idea what the word bloom would bring, and now that we've begun the new year, I'm excited to look back and see just how much I bloomed.
2017 was full of a lot of change for me. Not nearly as much as 2016, but it was a busy year. It just happened to be the fun kind of busy, not the "what-on-earth-am-I-doing" kind of busy, in part because I became a stay-at-home-mom to my now two-year-old.
It was by far the best decision I could have made, though I was nervous going in. Since my last day of work, and first day of full-time motherhood, I've learned so much about parenting and keeping both of us busy and happy. We go outside nearly every day - unless it's very cold or rainy. We paint, color, and draw multiple times a week. Oscar lives for the library, and will ask to go multiple times a week (though we typically only go once a week, twice if we need more books). I do way more singing, dancing, and cleaning than I thought possible, and I absolutely love what I do now.
I also made so many friends, ending up in a happenstance-yet-wonderful neighborhood playgroup. We met at the playground by chance - with children around the same age. They've become part of my squad, and now we group text daily about the kids, weather, and what's on sale at Target. When my little man developed bronchitis in September, they were the first to offer to help out in any way possible, with one friend showing up with dinner, and another offering to go to Costco for snacks so I wouldn't have to take my miserable, sick kid out.
In addition to local friends, I've become a part of a larger group by surprise, by joining a writing group through the blog Coffee + Crumbs. Joining midway through the year was a huge leap, and I was immediately blown away by the community I found within. Several of us joined together in Voxer to make a group chat and we're now planning a retreat for the summer, building our community of friends who help us grow as writers, mothers, and women. Since joining the group, I am starting to find my voice as a writer, and I cannot wait to see how they help me grow this year.
Because of the writing group, 2017 brought one of my most valuable long-term lessons, and helped me grow as a writer. I've always expected to be good at most things, right away, and the truth is (and most of us know this, I think): I can't be good at everything. And to be good involves work. By not working on my writing, I wasn't getting any better. The only way to get better at it, was to write. This lightbulb moment, coupled with one in not tying up everything with neat little bows has led to making and finding time to write daily - morning pages, unfinished blog posts, half-written and written essays. I write daily to practice, improve and to continue to bloom.
Lastly, I've bloomed as a person, becoming more outgoing, adventurous, and patient. I'm typically a homebody, thriving on routine, and last year I worked hard to push past those tendencies, go explore and try new things. To lay down roots and grow as a woman, friend, wife, and mother. I've worked hard to take better care of myself- making time for the things I enjoy, like spin class, reading, writing, cooking, and baking. I am working to put down my phone and live within the moment, capturing just enough for the memory books before diving back into the imaginative play of my son.
While I may not be perfect (what thing in nature is), I'm finding more and more joy the more I bloom. While my year of "bloom" is over, I'm sure I'll continue to benefit from making the choice to bloom as I walk into 2018, eager to see what the year will bring.