But there's time to figure all that out. It doesn't have to be tonight.
What I do have to share, my friends, is my Word of the Year. Time to make the commitment to focus on one word that will unite my goals for the year. And this year's word?
Ironic that I'm speaking/writing about listening. But the truth is, I'm afraid that being an active, involved listener in my life hasn't been happening like it should. I succumb easily to all the distractions of the electronic world, or am busy formulating my response before the speaker is even halfway through. And I am the worst about it in my own home.
I have a quickly growing toddler who dearly needs his mama to be on the floor and involved in his play.
I have a middle son who finds himself feeling misunderstood both at school and at home, and who deserves to have me make a more serious effort at hearing what he has to say. He is brilliant, and I would learn a lot just from listening to him share his curiosities.
I have an oldest who is entering the stage where much less is said, and so much more is happening internally. But through his actions he is shouting, and I need to slow down to notice and hear him. There is also a much greater need to manufacture happy accidents of alone time where he is more inclined to open up.
And I have a husband whom I have gotten in the habit of brushing off. Not because I'm trying to be rude - in fact, what I usually brush off are his offers of help and support. And then, because I am not truly hearing them, I feel alone and in need of help. Help that I have been ignoring.
Then there's the greater community and world. So many are in desperate need that I get overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. But I have faith that if I do a better job of listening, simple, small actions that have meaning will appear. Listening to those who are in need will put me in a better place to be able to help.
And finally, I need to listen to myself. My body, and its need for better food and more movement. My brain, and its need for both stimulation and relaxation. And my heart, and its need for community and shared conversations with those I love. I ignore my own needs to often, and I need to listen to myself better, too.
So, listen. I know I have a lot to learn.