My friend picks a new word every year. The hope is that the word will embody, encapsulate possibly even project into the new year that which she hope for and from herself. To be courageous or authentic or connected. To have audacity. I love the exercise of searching for the word. Word searching and word selecting. And it validates that nuanced part of me that likes to discuss the subtle shades and variables to a meaning. She likes an annual theme. It made me think about my own. Give that this is the start of my “next 50”, I ask myself what I want. What I believe. What defines me. What might I change? What is so solid that it sits at my core, inextractable? I am working on the list but I have swiftly named three things. Let’s call them pillars.
Honesty. I am honest. I expect honesty. I will remain silent to keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself. I make mistakes. I make choices that sometimes other people disagree with but I am honest with myself and I can explain my decisions. I don’t cut in line. If the cashier mistakenly gives me a $20 instead of a $10, I go back and show him the mistake so that he doesn’t get in trouble. I honor my words. Have I broken promises? Have I cheated at things? Sure, who hasn’t. But I carry a heavy burden for those faults and failures. When honesty is a pillar, shame is a shadow companion.
Responsibility. I am a responsible person. Not a slacker. Not lazy. Not looking to cut corners or cheat the system (see pillar #1). I do the work. I carry the burden. I am comfortable in that space. I make the list. I do the list. I juggle a whole bunch. And I like it that way. Read between the lines and what it says is that I take responsibility for myself (and I have a difficult time depending on others). But I will never expect someone else to be responsible for me (or my stuff). It’s mine.
Knowledge, I am curious about things. I want to know why things are as they are. I read. I investigate. I search. I love to travel (which means I learn about a new place before I go and while I am there). I am an explorer or worlds: academia, scientific, cooking, recipes, gardening, seed species, where spices come from, genetics, the perfect fast pitch, the rules of hockey. I want to know and learn and explore. It makes me feel young and inquisitive. To be curious means I retain my humility. Curiosity automatically declares: I don’t know this and I want to know this. Teach me. Curiosity is the space in which I submit to someone else knowing MORE than me. It keeps me humble. When I end up in a space (or phase) where I stop learning or deflect learning, that is a sign of my PRIDE. The best way to get me off my high horse is to introduce me to something new: brood mares and the difference between and foal and a pony. Learning keeps me honest. And once I learn something, I am responsible to that truth.
I am going to keep exploring these pillars. And writing about them