At the beginning of 2019 I chose a “word of the year”, a single idea that I wanted to pursue with intention throughout the year. For some people this choosing of an intention is a very spiritual experience, met with a few days of mulling and meditation. Some people wait to get a feeling for the year before they choose their focus. I chose my word much the same way I choose character names in video games or unique candies at a 2-for-1 sale. That is to say, with enthusiasm and passion, and minimal worry about what may come next. I opened my mind to the idea of a framing word for the next 12 months and ruminated as a few popped into my head. The first one that felt fun, motivating and a diversion from the norm got my vote.
I’ve enjoyed my word. Savor. Have I ensured that it was the focus of my experiences in the last 12 months? No. Every few weeks it would pop into my head or I would see it on the front page of my journal and I would stop to think. I’d look back on the last day and week and see if I was upholding my desire to savor the experiences in my life. What foresight I have caused me to think about the things I had planned in the next days and weeks and create an image in my mind of the tastes, sounds, feelings and sights I wanted to savor.
Somehow even without making this idea the center of my life, I found myself cultivating it. I found a new way to be present and soak up experiences, without that weird stress you feel when you are doing something new and amazing and you’re in the moment and then you start thinking about being in the moment which takes you out of the moment. Raise your hand if you know this feeling. I don’t know if it comes from being able to compare and ogle other people’s #amazingexperiences on social media, or a general societal understanding that we, as a
generation civilization are disconnected from our surroundings and experiences. Either way, somehow just knowing that my ability to savor the experience and feel hugely grateful for it continues long after the moment has passed gives me freedom to let go of that niggling worry and instead savor the experience while it is happening.
This week is one of those weeks when SAVOR is in my mind. I guess going into the busiest season of most people’s year makes me want to buckle down on my savoring. You know, work hard at enjoying every moment. Makes sense, right? And as I said, I find presence, and enjoyment, and savoring best done when you’ve gotten all the fussing about it out of the way ahead of time. So here goes.
I can savor my Christmas shopping. Watching kids ask for toys, seeing all the bright colored wrappings and ornaments and shiny baubles. When I walk through the aisles and past shop windows I can enjoy the idea of things. I can see and touch and smell and appreciate them without buying them for myself or anyone else. I’m going to savor each moment of that. Grocery stores are kind of always hectic, but this time of year that ramps up by at least 50%. You know what? I’m gonna savor that too. Yesterday I was in a grocery store line for 20 minutes somehow I didn’t hate it.
Thinking about stretching out the pleasure I get from things has somehow given me the ability to enjoy them even more. From the voices singing out my favorite Christmas songs, to the rich flavor of hot chocolate, my enjoyment has increased simply by thinking about the fact that I enjoy it.
This isn’t one of my usual posts where I give a clear formula for how to achieve something, and encouragement that I know that you can achieve this too. All I did was start my year by thinking about enjoying each moment a little bit more. I thought about it every now and then. I reflected and pre-flected about the joys in my life. Somehow I learned what makes me happy, and why and how to get even more happiness from those things, however simple.
So this isn’t a challenge, but a hope. A wish, in the spirit of the season, that you would have and take chances to savor the good things in your life. To enjoy the books, get swept away in the music, lose yourself in the movies and connect fiercely with the people you love. Savor this holiday! However you celebrate, whether you light candles or give gifts or feast, enjoy it. Give yourself permission to just enjoy it. It won’t be perfect. There will be messes and mistakes and maybe even yelling and tears. Now you know. Savor the rest.