I don’t ever pick a word to start the year, instead at the end of the year, I reflect on what word or phrase has come to me throughout the year. 2021 was a year of slowing down. We started the year continuing to homeschool our two-year-old and five-year-old and after a semester of routine, we fell into a pattern of starting our mornings later and later. Rather than having a place to be and a time to be there, we meandered into the day. Our daily walks lengthened, we found the morning light each morning. We slowed down and noticed our neighborhood, the changing seasons, and every bug that crossed our paths.
I didn’t know how much I needed slowing down. I didn’t know how much I had been hustling.
Because there was time and space, we booked two family vacations, something we’ve never done. We camped, we went to the beach, and we made great use of our SC Parks Annual Pass. It was wonderful to explore and discover together.
This summer, we enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family after we were able to get vaccinated. We enjoyed long afternoons at pools and late nights of movie watching and reading every Star Wars book we could find. We were able to gather in-person with out church family again after a 15-month long virtual worship experience. We soaked up the sun and the time to be in community again.
With time to reflect and slow down, we realized that we were ready to move from the house that had kept us safe from the COVID and had transformed into a virtual workspace, classroom, and sanctuary. We paired down our furniture, packed up our books, and sold our house to move down the highway out of the hustle and bustle of the city. As we started with a new school community, we were thankful to find a place where slowing down is valued.
Then this fall, we slowed down even further as spent every moment we could with my dad. We slowed down to remember. We slowed down to be present as he passed from this life into the next. We ended this year of slowing down with a family beach trip in his honor, playing games we haven’t played in years and staying up late to share stories of his life, his light, and his laughter.
As the new year starts, I can feel the push to hustle and bustle. I can feel the urge to burn the midnight oil to write that one more email and make that one more phone call, but after a year of slowing down, I’ve realized I can say no to that push.
I can choose instead to be here and now in this moment.