Tuesday, January 7, 2020

One Little Word 2020 | RISE

The process of choosing my One Little Word…

As I've mentioned previously, my position of 16 years has been eliminated. Losing my job threatened to pull me under. The panic, loss of control, fear of the unknown, was a black abyss I was falling into head first.  The “position elimination” although not unexpected, was still a shock when it came, a real punch to the gut.

Rather than be angry, I tried very hard to be the consummate professional.  I went into temporary hyper-drive, doing all I could to transfer knowledge so those I was leaving behind were set up for success… if they chose to take it and run with it.  If not, I kept telling myself, it’s not my problem any longer. This is not my circus; these are not my monkeys.  Do you have any idea how easily that can become a daily mantra???  Not my monkeys, not my monkeys, not my…

With each task I relinquished, I felt a little relief. I had been, for the past three years, trying to run a department with no clear understanding of what was expected of me.  It’s exhausting trying to aim for an undefined target and never knowing if you are even close to hitting the mark.  Despite the lighter feeling that comes with letting go, I suffered way too many sleepless nights last month.

That time of spinning my wheels is now behind me and I’m working out how to best approach 2020.

Complete.  Before I found out I was losing my job, I thought my word would be “complete” – as in finally getting around to finishing a lot of tasks, projects, classes, challenges, ideas that had been started but not finished, or on my to-do list since forever without ever being started.  But with the prospect of a full year job search and a lot of rejection ahead of me, that word no longer held any spark.  

Transform. Having rejected “complete,” my first thought for a word to guide me in 2020 was “transform” – as in change into the person I am meant to be, like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly … in fact, butterfly was a perfect symbol for transform… but when I looked up the definition of transform it was described as “change completely” – it felt like a step too far.  I’m not in need of a complete overhaul, just some program and user interface tweaks.  Cheri 5.8 transitioning into Cheri 5.9. 

Create.  “Create” also came to mind.  As in create a new version of me.  It also tied into all those unfinished projects…. If during my job search time, I could allow myself time to create in the art world too. I got excited about it. Briefly. Create is honestly a fantastic word with so much possibility.  It just didn’t feel strong enough, bold enough, tough enough for what I know lies ahead of me.

I wanted a word that gave me a feeling of courage or bravery, a call to arms if you will, without actually using the words courage or brave.  

I saw on Facebook that someone was using the word “Phoenix” – I like the imagery and symbolism that goes with Phoenix.  But I didn’t want to use the actual word.  It felt like using the word “butterfly” would if your intention was “transform”.  But it had a pull.  I looked up phoenix imagery.  I looked up quotes about rising from the ashes.  And then I became excited.
RISE feels like a real touchstone.  A word that can remind me to be brave, be strong, keep trying when I get kicked down – rise up, rise above, rise to the challenge, rise again, rise and shine.  It feels like the perfect antidote to being "eliminated."  It feels like precisely the call to action for which I was searching.

Thursday, January 2, 2020


I didn't have any photos of some of the other best moments of 2019... visiting with Krystal, visiting with Deanna (they both came here at separate times and we got zero photos together... ugh). Despite the unfortunate circumstances, visiting with my Texas family for my mother's memorial service. I need to get better about getting photos on MY phone so I have them!