This year, I’m participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word workshop. My word is savor, and at the beginning of each month I’ll share a bit about how I connected with savor in the previous month, as well as how I did with my intentions and my take on the month’s prompt from Ali.
February was a difficult month for me, in general, and it was very difficult at times to keep my word at the forefront of my mind. We had a bunch of snow days, it was miserably cold (February is my least favorite month, weather wise), there were some extended family problems that were very difficult for me emotionally (and were hard to get distance from at the time), and I struggled deeply with anxiety and depression towards the end of the month. Though much of the month was an emotional battle for me, the moments that I savored were the highlights. Those were the moments that lifted me up, and kept me teetering on the line between feeling good and becoming overwhelmed by anxiety or falling into a deep depression. So for all of that negative stuff, I’m calling savor a success. Here are a few ways I tackled each of my intentions last month:
Savor the journey I did more spontaneous things this month just for the sake of doing them with no end game. This is wonderful for me: I’m not worrying about what happens next, so I’m really able to focus fully on the moment and just ENJOY myself, something I often have trouble doing. Jake and I also started planning two possible trips for May.
Savor the season Even though I dislike February, I did several things this month that savored the season. And they were wonderful. I played outside a ton with the kids in the snow. Jake and I walked around in the snow on a spontaneous date: our plans got thwarted, but it made walking through our neighborhood feel like an adventure. I ran and slid on ice and laughed with the thrill of it. We all went actual ice skating with friends. I snuggled up with kids or Jake or cats at several points and just watched the snow fall, appreciating how beautiful it is. I made Doctor Who valentines with Eliza and read books to celebrate Black History Month.
Savor lost I probably struggled most with this intention this month. I was trying to be helpful while submerged in the extended family problems I referenced earlier (but won’t go into to respect the privacy of others). However, my help really wasn’t wanted, and thus didn’t really actually help. This kept me submerged in a really stressful situation that kept me from savoring the good things in life. It also triggered the heightened anxiety I struggled with throughout the rest of the month. In hindsight, I should have recognized I was damaging myself for no gain earlier and walked away from the situation. I will work to keep this in mind for the future, but I suspect that this will be a very difficult aspect of myself to change.
Savor 4 The four of us went out for brunch together almost every weekend (which is becoming my favorite routine), ran a few errands all together, went to Science City a few times, spent a lot of time with our friends who are also a family of four (with kids the same ages as ours!), spent time all smooshed up together on the couch watching TV or reading together, and most of the seasonal stuff fits in here too. Part of the benefits of being a family of four with the kids at these ages is also that our family likes watching the kids, so Jake and I were able to go on several dates in February. So grateful for that.
Savor homegrown I kept what inside herbs that are still kickin’ it alive, we went to the farmer’s market once (a big deal for us in February: we’ll start going every week in March), and I researched and planned for our Spring garden.
Savor relationships February was a wonderful month for friendships. We had several dinners with friends at our house (and one out) and were able to spend time with both a few friends we hadn’t seen in awhile and a few friends we now spend time with weekly or more. I love talking and bonding, especially over good food, so much and found so much joy in this. The kids were also able to spend a good deal of time hanging out with their friends and I got to have a few Google Hangout sessions with my far-away friends. And though there was conflict with one extended family member, we were able to spend a lot of valuable time with others in our family with visits, dinners, and, in the kids’ case, a sleepover.
Savor every bite I kept up with making one new recipe a week and the rest is pretty obvious in my Savory Sunday posts. Hah! I made a conscious effort to slow down and really taste the things I’m eating and drinking.
Savor the moment I’m not perfect and it is not possible to do all of the time, but I’m definitely stepping back and just appreciating moments more. I’m trying to keep a Kurt Vonnegut quote (or, more accurately, the quote from his good uncle that he relayed in a speech) in my mind: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” Paying attention to these moments helps me to be happier over all. Another aspect of this is enjoying the present without worrying so much about the queue of things I have to do, which is still something I need to seriously work on. One way I did achieve this was to allow myself several skipped days of blogging. I did great working ahead and scheduling in January, but was thrown off track by a lot of days of watching a very loved but lately velcro-like baby at the end of January and the beginning of February. Add in all of the snow days, the family drama, and working on classes behind the scenes, and I had less time to dedicate to blogging than usual. I decided to accept that and not lose sleep (literally) or personal time over it.
Savor the little things One of the big little things I did more in February was watch sunrises and sunsets. I only get so many of these in a life time, and I’m going to enjoy as many of them as I can! I also paid more attention to the wonderful little quirks of my family members: things I usually take for granted.
Savor excitement I did quite a few things last month that make me happy but I generally don’t feel like I have time for. I played a video game (Katamari Dynasty), I read in quiet, I joined in random dance parties with my family and sang La Vie Boheme at the top of my lungs like no one was listening (they were). I felt the thrill of creativity as I worked on content for an upcoming collaboration with Kristin. But the best part was moments of goofy fun with the rest of the nest.
The month’s prompt activity had to do with making actions to carry through the year, but no matter how much I worked on making actions, they all felt to be fighting against my word. So instead of making a list of specific actions to do when I’m mostly working on appreciating the right now, I just made a list of smaller actions that I want to do this year in general that relate to my word.
I made a 12×12 page with the list of actions, which I just brainstormed in the moment until I ran out of room. I’ll print out how I did with my intentions for the back area.
I want to watch sunrises and sunsets. I want to hold the taste of coffee against my tongue. I want to listen to the birds sing. I want to walk down a street I’ve never walked down. I want to have spontaneous adventures. I want to get soil under my fingernails. I want to stay up late talking to friends. I want to let in the useful and beautiful. I want to try–and taste–new things. I want to hold my kids close. I want to watch them play, learn, and develop. I want to appreciate what I have. I want to slow down and enjoy the process. I want to choose play. I want to chat with farmers over fresh food. I want to smell the roses and breathe petricher deep. I want to read beautiful things and make beautiful things. I want to let go of being addicted to being busy. I want the people I love (including myself) to come first. I want to ditch multitasking. I want to savor.
I’m so looking forward to see what savoring brings in March!
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Check out my other One Little Word posts!
Are you participating in One Little Word? Did you like the February prompts? Leave a link to your take!