2024 Word of the Year

It’s January – happy new year, friends! I’m feeling ready to welcome the clean slate and fresh energy that the start of a new year brings. Hello, 2024!

The kids went back to school on Wednesday and I’ve been in a big decluttering and organizing spree which has felt really good. On the agenda for this weekend is to take down all our Christmas decorations – as much as I love having the tree out especially, it’s time to get things put away and cleaned up!

Today’s blog post will share some reflections on 2023, as well as my “word of the year” and focus for 2024.

2023 Reflections

Fun fact: I never ended up getting around to selecting a word of the year for 2023, which honestly feels pretty apt as last year felt really hectic in general. I remember having a note on my to do list for months about writing a word of the year post, and by late March I finally gave up and took it off my list. It just wasn’t going to happen, and that was okay.

2023 was a good year in a lot of ways but it was also a LOT. We had a ton of big family transitions in particular that made the year feel a bit hectic and that required a lot of emotional energy from me.

In mid January last year Wes started school for the first time, and it was a big adjustment for him (and therefore also for me as I helped him through some big feelings around the whole situation).

It took a few weeks but once Wes got into a groove with school he started to enjoy going and would run right in happily, which was wonderful. Having out of the house childcare was a much better fit for all of us by this point.

Since we all really liked the new routine, it meant it was a huge bummer in June when we went back to our old schedule where Wes was with our babysitter 3 mornings a week and then with me every afternoon and the other 2 full days. Every single time for the entire summer when our sitter arrived Wes would burst into tears and cling to me. I felt so guilty and it was so much emotional energy for me to help him through the transition multiple days a week, and also anytime I accidentally ran into them in the house.

Wes was also in a phase over the summer (and occasionally still now, but thankfully much less) where he thought it was hilarious to sprint into the middle of the road/not listen even when something was dangerous. Ah, toddlers. Not for the faint of heart…

Needless to say, by the end of summer I was completely fried, behind on work, and my nervous system was very overloaded. I was thrilled when both kids went back to school in late August and were on the same schedule for the first time ever, too!

Fall 2023 was a good season but it was BUSY. As it was the first time basically since Riese was born 6 years ago that I had a large and consistent chunk of time to dedicate to work each day, I feel like I got a little over ambitious in my excitement to hit the ground running and said yes to way too much.

I had a ton of travel, both with and without family, which was really fun but also meant the time that I was home was extra busy so I could cram in all the work I had to get done. I had a lot of sponsored partnerships in fall 2023 which was wonderful because it was brands I was excited to be working with, but in hindsight it was just too much on my plate at once. I was also constantly sick, which made it pretty obvious that I was over-functioning.

2024 Word of the Year

Setting an intention for my years is something I always enjoy doing – I find it really helpful to take the time to sit and think about the energy I want to bring more of into my life, and I’m excited that I feel like I have the mental (and logistical) space to make this reflection time a priority again this year.

When I was thinking about what sort of energy I wanted to welcome in 2024, what came up most strongly for me was wanting to simplify and slow down.

sun peeking through the fall leaves

Similar to my last blog post about a word of the year (2022 – my word was Recalibrate), I’m feeling ready for a reset and a reanalysis of what is working and what isn’t in both my life (personal + professional) and the lives and daily flow of our family.

How am I spending my time? And is that time serving me/my family positively in some way, or merely keeping me busy?

Which brings me to my 2024 word of the year: Ease.

Coming off such a busy fall season, I want to again embrace a lot more intention in terms of what I’m saying yes to, and what a yes will mean in terms of what I may need to say no to in order to accommodate it.

Despite how busy I let last fall get, I have done a ton of personal growth work over the past couple years, and I’m clearer than ever on the fact that I no longer want to be someone who sees my personal worth as tied to my productivity. I grew up thinking that my achievements were the most important thing about me, and over the past couple years I’ve worked really hard to untangle those thoughts and really believe that what actually matters about me is my heart, and my relationships.

Do I want to have a successful business? Of course, and I’m not going to stop trying to be strategic and to advance my business in a way that feels aligned with my values, and that will help others/do some good. But I no longer believe that having a successful business or making a lot of money is what makes me interesting or worthy of love and recognition in the world, and as a result it’s easier than it used to be for me to prioritize and get clear on what really matters.

Similar to what I wrote in my 2022 word of the year post, the word Ease isn’t about making broad or sweeping change, but tuning in and paying more attention to which things will add stress to our days vs. reduce it, and simplifying when possible to free up more space for joy in the here and now vs. always rushing off to the next thing.

I’m curious – do you set a “word of the year” or intention? And if so, I’d love if you wanted to share!

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