As soon as the new year hit, I seemed to be bombarded by social media posts of people sharing their word for the year. I don’t know if this is something common, but it seems to have exploded amongst my friends this year. Happiness. Joy. Love. Success. Change. Many good words out there. What surprised me however, was that so many people decided not to provide any explanation for their choice of word. Those that did elaborate gave rather superficial, clichéd descriptions that didn’t actually help me get a sense of what the word actually meant to them on a personal level. Maybe for some, the word was just a nice sentiment, or a way to be involved in the current social media post trend. I wanted more, to understand why these words had been chosen, but I can only guess at their significance.
The concept did intrigue me though. A word to inspire some sort of direction for the coming year. A reminder to stick to the goals laid out in January. I wanted to have a word. Something to connect to. After having a really rough year, I needed some inspiration to propel me forward. So I started with one of those silly (but incredibly satisfying) Facebook random generator quiz game things. I am sure that is exactly what they are called. Anyway, I thought who better to choose my word for the year than a cold emotionless piece of code. Usually my results for these games make me roll my eyes in disgust as how not like me the answer is, but this time I actually wasn’t completely disappointed.
I was pleasantly surprised when my word for the year came up as being WILD. The description along with it read “You will experience a lot of things beyond your wildest dreams. 2020 will be a rollercoaster ride for you, so prepare to have a blast!” While I really liked the sounds of that, the word meant something different for me. It meant spending time in nature, exploring new places, and going on all sorts of adventures. And strangely, it seemed to be a reminder to be myself once again. Completely myself.
A few years ago, I was in a store with a friend, rummaging through a sale rack. I pulled out a cute shirt with a feather across the front, with the words “wild and free” in cursive script along the calamus of the feather. I showed it to my friend thinking it was rather fitting, but he smirked and said “Wild and free? That’s not really you, is it?” I was disappointed and returned the shirt to its spot on the rack. I understand that what most people think of when they hear wild and free, is far from how I live my life, but those were words that I always thought applied to myself. And in that moment, I realized that I had lost that somewhere. I wasn’t being my natural self anymore. I was no longer wild, but domesticated. Being more reserved, shrinking back from being the leader in situations, and not letting my full personality show. Maybe in some ways, those are good skills to have for certain situations, but they had become the norm, and it was affecting my happiness and how I viewed myself. It took nearly 3 years since finding that shirt to really clue in and decide to make a change. To be fully me. To remember who I was created to be. My wild, undomesticated self.
My search for my word for the year was off to a good start, but it wasn’t complete. Though somewhat unconventional, I needed two words. Fearless may not be very original (I have seen it multiple times in friend’s Facebook posts) but it seemed to fit. In the fall, I really started to realize that for the last 4 years, fear had been taking over my life. It didn’t always look or feel that way, it was more subtle. I was slowly changing the way I was living and interacting with others, based on these fears. They constricted me, making personal growth almost impossible. Without even realizing it, I was making so many decisions out of fear.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of judgment.
Fear of commitment.
Fear of disappointing others.
Fear of getting hurt.
Fear of Failure
Someone once told me that the devil works in fear and lies, and I had fallen prey to both.
I know that being truly fearless, is not only dangerous, but impossible. Fears have a part to play in our lives, but they shouldn’t be the prominent factor in decision-making. The fears I listed above will always be present for me, especially as someone with anxiety, but I am making the choice to not let them control my life. It will be a process, but I will work towards not making decisions out of fear. Instead of giving in to my fears, I will turn to faith.