Saying goodbye to a performance based life

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#oneword365 it’s taken me a while to choose my word this year. I have had a few I was considering but I then had an epiphany moment, a paradigm shift of sorts. I realised that the words were all about ‘doing’ and all words that I could hold myself accountable to.

If there is one thing I want for this year it is to say goodbye to a performance based life. So my one word is enjoy.

I had got to a point of not enjoying much to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of enjoyable moments but they eventually become hijacked by this sense of performance and achievement.

I stopped enjoying church because I wasn’t doing enough. Why was a I there? What was the point?

I struggled with accepting my friendships and relationships because I wasn’t doing enough within them.

I stopped writing because I wasn’t doing it the right way or about the right things and I wasn’t doing it the way it should be done.

This year, enough is enough.

This year is about enjoying…

I’m not going to hold myself to account about doing. I’m not going to judge my performance of achievements- I am going to enjoy the day to day, not waiting for the next event, or thing but living in the moment and enjoying.

The first cup of coffee in the morning – savoured.
The quiet moments of the day – relished
The frantic activity when spending time with my son – delighted in
Daily commute – rested in
Conversations – no more second guessing just listening

It’s a lot about letting go of untruths I have held on to for a long time and freeing myself from ridiculously high standards I can never live up to.

It’s time to enjoy…

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I chose Nurture – How am I doing?

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At the beginning of the year I chose nurture as my #oneword365 and as we are now in February it’s probably an idea to think about how that is going.

I am currently sat in front of the television with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders and my husband’s monster slippers on. I have a cup of decaf tea and a bowl of sugar puffs.

My 4 month old has gone down for a nap and my slippers and cardigan are in the same room.

I consider the week ahead, our timetable of events. I feel more awake than I have for a while thanks to a good night’s sleep.

As a parent, I realise that talking about sleep, naps and being pleased my son does both can be a source of contention. In fact talking about children in general opens you up to a plethora of responses – some less than desirable. The only thing I know about is my own son. I don’t paint myself as an expert, a super parent or earth mother.

In some respects to nurture myself as a mother I should simply avoid opening my mouth to speak about anything child related but that has never really been my style. I have learnt that you need to have a thick skin and to keep talking. I have also learnt that the world of motherhood can be the most cliquey arena of all. Let’s all just talk to each other a bit more hey? At groups, in coffee shops etc… It’s not a competition, why don’t we try nurturing each other a bit more?

As a Christian, I acknowledge that I have fallen into the trap of believing there is a specific mould I should fit in to and that had rendered my silent for a while. Instead of nurturing my faith I hid away becoming slightly insular, turning up but not really being there. That’s stopped now. I speak, I contribute, I use my voice. It was quite easy to convince myself that nurture was about keeping safe and quiet.

As someone who likes to blog, I wrote a post at the beginning of the year about nurture and then stopped blaming time constraints or making excuses for my lack of posts. So easy to do, so easy to avoid writing posts but as someone who is fairly creative it wasn’t nurture just simply avoidance and giving in to the ‘I’m so busy’ mentality. The same with reading…

So it could seem like I haven’t been doing so well at nurture.

But I don’t feel that way. This isn’t a post about beating myself up because I think I have failed.

It has been about discovery, for the first month of this year I have been discovering what nurture isn’t and challenging my own perceptions of it.

I have spent a lot of time with friends, enjoying their company, asking for support when needed.

I have begun to realise that I need to allow myself to be nurtured by others and have taken steps to allow myself that vulnerability.

Nurture isn’t about hiding away, it’s about growing. It isn’t about being quiet, it’s about finding your voice and using it. It’s not about making excuses but about being proactive.

One month in and I don’t think I’m doing so badly at nurture at all.

I choose nurture

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My one word for 2014 – Nurture

#oneword365 @oneword365

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Choosing one word is difficult I had considered a few others and how they would play out if I focused on them for every day of the nest year so why nurture?

Type nurture into google and it offers the following –

Definition: care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing.

help or encourage the development of.

cherish (a hope, belief, or ambition).

synonyms:bring up, care for, provide for, take care of, attend to, look after, rear, support, raise, foster, parent, mother, tend; encourage, promote, stimulate, develop, foster, cultivate, further, advance, boost, forward, contribute to, be conducive to, assist, help, aid, abet, strengthen, advantage, fuel

Being an English teacher I find synonyms useful in helping to understand the scope of a word, the many facets that it holds. Words are not just one dimensional after all. The list of synonyms inspires me and is aspirational – it opens up so many possibilities in how this one word can become a lifestyle.

As a ‘new’ mother ( my son is 14 weeks old) nurture features heavily in my vocabulary and I see the daily benefits and effect of nurturing a person. This is something I am actively doing with my son each and every day and it got me thinking about how to apply it to all areas of my life.

Nurturing people involves encouragement so I need to approach each day with that it mind. What can I do and say that actively encourages those around me and more importantly what do I choose not to do and say which may discourage?

What can I nurture within myself? My blog posts have been conspicuous by their absence recently. Why? I have neglected my writing. My to read book shelf has stayed full. Why? I have neglected my reading. Both of these things are important to me and who I am as a person, I have not looked after myself in this respect and subsequently by ability to nurture and look after others has been hindered.

That’s a thing isn’t it? One we don’t often acknowledge. Is it fear of sounding selfish or self indulgent? I am not a fan of ‘me time’ as a phrase but I do like ‘be time’. We all need time to ‘be’ sometimes and that will look different for us all. For me, it’s taking some time to write or read. This replenishes my sense of being and restores my nurturing abilities. The tension is that I love to be sociable and find it energised me. Reading and writing are not social activities – they can become so but initially it is a solo activity. So, I need to develop some solo time into my life. The key is ensuring balance.

What am I going to do – actively. How will I live with nurture as my word?

Below I am going to bullet point some ideas – things to aspire to. Ways that I can incorporate this word in my life without it becoming a chore but an integral part of my year.

Continue to create memories and traditions with my family
Take part in the #emptyshelf challenge ( see @jonacuff) this will encourage me to read and be accountable for what I have done – not in a negative way but motivational one.
Aim to blog once a week.
Send that text, email, card, note to someone when I initially think of it and not procrastinate.
Embrace my role as a mother as part of my whole not all of my whole.
Develop new and existing relationships through meals and social time.
Re start my book club.
Take care of myself and others.
Remember that nurture is ultimately all about love.
Cultivate my relationship with God.

Now a list may seem a little clinical perhaps? Or maybe arduous but when I look at it I am excited about getting going and reviewing my progress. I am inspired and encouraged by it. For me, it It is all about nurture and I can’t wait to get started.

What does nurture mean to you?

When was the last time you experienced being nurtured?

What would be your one word?