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Growing one word at a time

| written by Iliana

I was ecstatic. I was invited to work at the world’s leading weather forecasting center and be part of a renown international team. I was going to live a short train ride away from London. I was offered a generous salary. Things were looking up. I packed, rented my home, and moved across the Atlantic. Within weeks the reality proved to be different and not in a pleasant way. I worked through the term of my contract trying to be strong, to fit in, and change my attitude. At the close of the second year, I was utterly exhausted. 

I changed jobs in late 2009. Tremendous disappointment made me doubt everything and everyone. As the time for New Year’s resolutions came, I could not bring myself to ask for or aim at anything. I decided to let life happen and just observe. I committed my 2010 year to observe with the curiosity and open-mindedness of a child.

Observe was my first one word for one year.

The simplicity and ease of this approach are what makes it work. It helps me stay focused, yet it encourages creativity in the way I interpret and apply my word. What’s more valuable, by choosing one word and inviting it in my life for one year I cultivate one lasting life skill, then another, and another one.  

I grow by choosing one word for every year.

Over the years I learned to observe mindfully, to accept without judgment, to embrace without fear. Looking at the list of words I had chosen in the past, I see clearly what I have mastered and what I may need to work on. I also find peace in the realization that as years come and go, life may never get to be perfect (yet we could try), but we do get better at navigating it.

Growing and bettering ourselves as humans is at the heart of everything. 

Here is my list of words over the years. They’ve inspired me, encouraged me, or simply made me smile. They have been the strong canvas of a full life. 

Do you keep a list of your words and reflect on it? 

Iliana is a full-time scientist, part-time career strategist, seasoned traveler, and an aspiring writer. She loves Chicago, Dutch bikes, and laughing with friends. You can read more of her musings on her blog at http://www.iliana.us.