Word of the Year – follow up

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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.

 

 

 

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