Word of the Year – follow up

Patience has hair the color of honey and favors flowing skirts and a surprising amount of makeup. She’s thick around the middle and gets much less worked up about it than I do. She always wears this stupid easy smile that I envy so much.

This time last year, I wanted to be Patience, just wanted an ounce of what she had…that quiet reassurance and calm that everything would work out as long as I was, well, patient.

Patience was my Word of the Year last year. It helped me through the grueling process of finding a new job and settling in quite nicely, even if it took some time. For awhile, I questioned the longer commute and my ability to learn complicated new tasks and systems and had to keep reminding myself patience, patience, patience.

Patience helped when I stopped dyeing my hair about a year ago. Five inches of gray root is not for everyone, but I love it because it is mine.

Patience helped each time I felt frustrated with others’ actions or inaction or, more to the point, my tendency to make it about me. It helped when I fell off the wagon time and again with my old foe, Sugar.

Patience became a one-word mantra that made 2015 pretty sweet.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about a new WOTY for 2016, alternating between trying some on and thinking I would skip it this year. The other words I considered were good things for me to work on, but none felt quite right. And then yesterday, while driving to work, which, incidentally has replaced the shower and trails as my number one place for good ideas, the word Time popped in and I knew.

A wise sober friend once said that we have to learn how to fill our time again when we quit drinking. For years, many of us simply drank. We didn’t drink to cope with bad news, except of course when we had bad news (and this happened disproportionately more, we now notice). Because truth is we also drank when we had good news or no news at all. Dare I say, boredom and learning how to fill the time is the biggest challenge in sobriety and life.

If Patience is a honey, homey mom-type, Time is a wizened character with white hair (ahem), but otherwise a blank sort of slate. 

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. I can fill mine with mindless activities, such as internet rabbit holes, or I can spend face to face time with the faces I love. I can read a good book or irritating status updates of irritating people. My choice.

I can eat the junk or go for something greener. I can walk or sit and it’s all the same to me except that it’s not. It does matter, very much, how I pass the time.

Time is also a natural extension of Patience in that when I’m feeling poorly about progress or a complete lack thereof on account of being human, I can remind myself I have plenty of it.

As with Patience, Time is perfect for someone who suffers from anxiety and perfectionism with a healthy side of lackadaisy. We never know how much time we have left, so wallow in it sometimes, sure, but above all make it count.

Happy 2016 to all and because my exclamation mark key appears to be broken, I’ll end this post calmly, like we have all the Time in the world.





37 thoughts on “Word of the Year – follow up

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  1. I am hooked on your writing. Reading about Patience’s honey hair and thick middle lured me right out of bed and down to the computer so I could read your words better.
    While I do have a word picked out for 2016, I’m also going to adopt a mantra to accompany your 2015 and 2016 insights. Patience and Time…*hangs head and promises to be better.

    “As with Patience, Time is perfect for someone who suffers from anxiety and perfectionism with a healthy side of lackadaisy. We never know how much time we have left, so wallow in it sometimes, sure, but above all make it count.”

    I printed and posted on my bulletin board. Thank you. Thank you. (I’m resting my exclamation point, too) xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lovely post.”someone who suffers from anxiety and perfectionism with a healthy side of lackadaisy” describes me to a t.

    My word for this year is Steady, which has a fair bit of Time and Patience involved, I think.

    I love gray hair. Good choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this, and love the idea of choosing a word rather than picking a resolution. Spending time a way that is meaningful is so important, and often forgotten. We can chose to spend our time waiting for the next event or function or obligation, or we can decide to do something with it rather than waste it. Enjoy your time. Thank you for the post.


    1. Me too. I couldn’t help make resolutions but rarely stuck with them. This is really different. Last year’s word stuck with me all year and changed along the way. Curious to see how it will go this year. Thanks for the comment.


  4. Both Patience and Time are quality words and I hope you find the right balance with your time in 2016. It’s a good word for me as I fight the battle of too many interests and too many distractions to focus in on the most important things. My word of the year is Grace. To me, it means walking in the world more lightly, more calmly. It’s about forgiveness and acceptance. It’s a word that, to me, encapsulates so many things that I wish to drive me forward through this year. That may not be the traditional definition of the word as it relates to the religious concept of grace, or the dictionary definition, but it is my definition. It’s how it speaks to me. And I hope to allow it to flow through the entire year.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Grace is a wonderful word to carry, and I too would interpret as you did. I love this practice because it is so individual and personal. There’s no wrong way to do it, and plenty of room for growth.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post. I grew my gray out around five years ago. I have short hair and kept it trimmed so that I didn’t have too much angst. Still, I almost caved about the half way mark of the first year without dyeing. It’s worth it.
    Time is a wonderful word of the year. I’m actually thinking of going with SAVOR, the word I mentioned in a comment on one of your other blog posts. It might be a good fit for me.
    Blessings to you my dear, in this coming year.
    xo Joanne

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Savor is a wonderful choice. Since you mentioned it re: slowing down time, I found that it really does something. It’s hard to savor, not only with time but food, company, sunsets, etc. But such beauty and reward there, real connection. Love it, Joanne, thanks so much for this.


  6. Great word!
    An awareness of what we do with our time…we have so much, and at the same time, so very little of it. It goes so slowly AND so fast, right?
    And who knows what else it might be time for?
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful word. Beautiful post.

    I highlighted some things on my kindle, on Christmas night of all nights, that may loosely fit. Seems any chance I get to mention Sarah Manguso’s work, I take:

    This is from her book The Two Kinds of Decay

    Before then, if I had to ride a train for half an hour or stand in a line at a shop for five minutes, I picked something up, or turned to someone, or ingested something, so the time would be filled with what I picked up or took in. And also since thenβ€”but maybe not quite so much. I say β€œthe time would be filled,” but the time was not so much filled as overfilled. The time was already full before I put the new thing in. I overfilled my time, I think, to hide what was already there. Some things are so horrible they need to be hidden right after they become visible. They are too horrible to be seen except very slowly, or in very small amounts. Or they are too beautiful.

    I’m thinking I may work some of her quotes into my (near)future writing, but I loved this too much to not share with you. The concept of time already being full, yet our desire to overfill it so as to not have to see what’s already there.

    Happy New Year, Kristen. (no exclamation point, but the excitement is there. it really is.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Damn girl. This is so good I’m going to read the book. Too horrible, too beautiful, already full…I do that thing where I pull out my phone, make lists in my head, plan conversations. Human things, but now I’m curious, what is so horrible? And it’s something to mull over (on the train, in line at the shop…sigh).

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Enjoyed this post Kristen — happy New Year. Aptly put, the bit about boredom that comes with sobriety. I’m trying it on for this month and it’s a hard habit to break, but I’m hopeful good things will come of it. And the hair looks lovely! Here’s to you and yours. – Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Bill. Before I quit for good, I did a dry January. While I don’t think I felt that way at the time, I remember it fondly. It was an eye opener and a relief. Looking forward to when you return from blogging hiatus, but really hope you’re enjoying the break and your travels. Happy new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, I might think we were separated at birth because I swear you say stuff that is true about me a LOT. πŸ™‚ I too am impatient and anxious and a little lazy. Do you do the thing where you have to be somewhere at 4:00 so by noon you are sort of already worrying about being on time? And then do you maybe sort of ramble around aimlessly not doing anything so you don’t have to interrupt yourself when it’s time to go in three hours? Not that I do that, lol. Happy new year to you dear friend! xxxooo


    1. Oh no, I don’t do that too. I mean either. I’ve always thought you write things that I could write if I could find the right words. Happy new year to you too dear Amy, xoxox.


    1. It is not for the faint of heart. The color is not at all how I thought it would be. It changes every few months as more comes in and the old gets cut off. I really do love it, though not always how it makes me feel. I love hearing other women are embracing their natural color. There are some good groups on FB if you’re on there and interested.


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