My 3 Words

Happy New Year!

To me, those words always carry such hope and optimism – out with the old, in with the new; a time to develop and cultivate new (healthy) habits, make better decisions, and live a better life. We’ve all had experience with resolutions, and while I’m not a big fan of formal ones, it is tempting to make at least a mental list of the things that I want to do better, and the things I want to accomplish personally and professionally in the New Year.

During 2011 I had the good fortune to get to know – through her writing – Philippa, who blogs as FeistyBlueGecko on matters of breast cancer and life. During one of the weekly tweetchats, she mentioned that she does not make resolutions for the New Year, but she chooses 3 words, and uses those words to guide and inspire her. How difficult but amazing to distill things down to 3 words! And how incredible to have just 3 words running around in your head to guide your every move during the year. 3 words – easy to remember, easy to call upon when needed. So it got me thinking – what would my words be, and why?

My 3 words for 2012 are Resilience, Rejuvenation, and Serenity. I borrowed resilience from Philippa, but it works for me as well, and there’s no reason we can’t all share.

Resilience: a – the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress; b – an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

I can handle anything. Personally or professionally, emotionally or physically– I’ve been through some major tests and have come through them all. Not necessarily with flying colors, but I’ve always been able to make it through to the other side. I need to keep reminding myself of that, and remember to learn from past hardships. That’s how we improve and grow. Not just thinking “oh no, how much more can I take”, but rather “I’ve been through so much and made it through, and I know I can do it again”. Over the years I have improved my innate tools or have acquired new ones that enable me to bounce back from adversity, stronger than before. This is different than hard-headed stubbornness – hopefully the wisdom of age has sunk in and allowed me to realize when I just need to walk away from a situation, rather than try to plow through it. But however I decide to handle a difficult situation, I know I will be fine in the end.

Rejuvenation: a – to make young or youthful again, give new vigor to; b – to restore to an original or new state

I am taking only part of definition “b” above – to restore to a new state – it is my word after all, and I can use what definition suits me….  I had initially thought of restoration, but to me, that means going back to the original. I am not who or what I was one year, 5 years, or 10 years ago. Time and circumstances make it impossible to go back. And I don’t necessarily want to go back. Rather, rejuvenation –  re-injecting life and vitality to get to a new state – that’s what I’m aiming for. How will this happen? By reinforcing my commitment to self-care and health. By eliminating or avoiding people and situations that sap my energy and strength. By concentrating on what I love to do and putting myself in situations where I can focus on just that.

Serenity: The quality or state of being serene

Serene:  a – clear and free of storms or unpleasant change; b – shining bright and steady; c – marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude

If one is truly happy and at peace with who they are, with what they are doing, and with who they are surrounded by, serenity follows. There is no way that we can control the chaos in our lives, but our response to the chaos and uncertainty can be controlled. Keep the internalization to a minimum, keep the mind and body quiet and still. It does not mean that I will not worry (and even obsess) over problems, situations, and issues, but I will try to maintain a proper perspective, and to be a calming influence on all that I encounter.

Those are my 3 words. I really liked Philippa’s 3rd word, “wonder”,  but for me, it falls under serenity as well as rejuvenation – reminding myself that nature and other miracles exist everywhere, and taking the time to savor them and smile will lead to rejuvenation and serenity.

I do reserve the right to come up with more words, switch words, or develop another plan completely, but for now, this seems to be a good way to start 2012. Happy New Year, everyone!

All definitions from Merriam-Webster.

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20 thoughts on “My 3 Words

  1. Great to find your blog! Like you, I love this exercise that FBG came up with and I’ve been contemplating what my three words of choice will be… perhaps my next blog post… I need to stop over-analyzing. I really really like the word ‘serenity.’ That’s really what we’re all looking for isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your three words. And Happy New Year to you! And happy blogging as well!

    • Thanks for finding me! For me, serenity is the big prize, and the other 2 are paths to it. But that’s just me – to each his/her own. Happy New Year to you as well.

    • Thank you, Marie – the nice thing about this exercise is that I don’t think it has to be 3 words – there is infinite room for customization here! One word, 5 words, whatever works. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts this year.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am delighted that you have also found this exercise useful and meaningful. And there are so many possibilities and permutations of words. Your point about changing the words when it is time to move forward is important too.

    And isn’t it wonderful how easily we can share words too, that resonate particularly.

    Happy New Year

    • Philippa I so appreciate the inspiration! The explanation you provided during one of the #BCSM chats really hit home for me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s wonderful when we can all learn and grow with the help of one another, all because of twitter of all things!

    • Love your words Philippa. Hope we get to meet up in SE Asia and chat words and everything else. I started my three words based on a Martha Beck article last year. Healthy, loved, and inspired served me so well. I’m working on my words for 2012 as we speak. T xo

  3. Thank you for this. I keep a diary and each year as I open a new one, I add a little “thought for the year” on the front page. I have used “This, too, shall pass” which I try to keep in mind all the time. It is both a comfort in hard times, and a little reminder to grab the good times…..

  4. Great choices. I love the 3 word concept. Last year, I chose healthy, loved, and inspired and those words took me on a crazy journey of discovery. I am still deciding on my words for 2012, but I’m leaning towards 3 Cs: Connection, Courage, and Contentment. All the best for you this year and I look forward to keeping in touch. Big hugs, Terri xo.

  5. Hi! It’s my first time here! – I liked all 3 – they are perfect for me for 2012. As a two-time cancer survivor, I thought I have been Resilient, but after looking at the definition (love Merriam-Webster), not sure I’ve bounced back. Honestly, I think my back has just been pinned to the wall for a long time in some areas. That’s where the Rejuvenation is going to come in! Boy – I need work! The words are simple to remember, and I feel hope when I read them. After some reassessing and work, I hope that my back will no longer be against a wall, but at the end of a tough time, I will rest on the soft cloud of Serenity from now on. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Hi Rann – welcome and thanks for sharing. I think all of us, whether we’ve had a cancer diagnosis or just been through some tough times, have experienced the “back against the wall” – I’ve had the feeling of having been kicked right through the wall, stuck, and not able to get out. And just when I was able to wiggle out a little bit, kicked back farther in. Reflecting back on those times is what helps me realize that whatever comes my way, I’ll get through it; that’s the resilience part. For me, reminding myself of this makes gives me strength to get through the tough times. Good luck to you!

  6. Like Nancy, I’m so glad I found your blog (which I now have on my blogroll). Thank you for such a wonderful posting; your words are great choices! And I so appreciate your input on our #BCSM tweetchats!

    • Hi Beth – thanks for finding me here. I actually get quite a bit out of the #BCSM chats as well – nice to have a forum where so many can participate and support each other.

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