2014 will forever go down as the year that kicked my butt.
In the thick of it, it didn’t seem so bad. My nose was to the ground. I was in the zone and just kept pushing through.
Even two weeks ago, I was thinking about all that would and could happen in 2015, specifically with our travel schedule and pending adoption, and I lackadaisically said to Gavin, Whew. 2015 is going to be such a crazy year!
His sarcastic and honest response? Whew. Glad 2014 wasn’t too crazy.
It was then I realized just how stressful the last twelve months have been.
Obviously, we moved across the globe. Packing and bringing our belongings to SE Asia was plenty hectic, not to mention all of the planning meetings, legal and financial preparation, plus terribly difficult good-byes.
Let’s add to that: Adoption home visits (in Tennessee and SE Asia), buying and selling cars, studying a tonal language, making completely new friends, raising a toddler, and relearning how to do all the day-to-day necessities in a new country and new culture.
Did I mention I’m supposed to be wrapping up a PhD? Hello, wayside.
Last year was like a roller coaster that I never really wanted to ride. We chinked up the incline, slow and steady, knowing that we were headed toward nothing more than a stomach flop and a rapid race to the bottom of yet another incline.
Some of those slopes were long and arduous, leading us up to days we had dreaded for months: the last hugs at the Nashville Airport, culture fatigue, special holidays and celebrations apart from those we love.
Some of the inclines were so unnoticeable that we were caught off-guard by the sudden dips along the way: failed expectations, a viral blog post, and a breakdown in a department store.
But as much as we dreaded the highs and lows of last year, we knew that they would lead us to where we ultimately want to be. We are settling into this life overseas and are feeling more comfortable with all that it brings.
Still, as I look back at where the last year has taken us, I am breathing sighs of relief that we don’t ever have to do THAT again.
I feel like running around giving fist bumps to everybody I see. We’re having lots of dance parties in our house these days. I also just changed my desktop background to this:
So here’s to 2015: The year I hope doesn’t kick my butt.
I have about 250 pages of writing to do. Books to read, surveys to write, data to analyze.
We have guests visiting (yippee!), conferences to attend, and work goals to pursue.
There’s some other travel sprinkled in, a furlough planned, and—by the grace of God—hopefully a baby to bring home!
That means there could potentially be a long trip to Uganda, court dates, and immigration paperwork.
But most importantly, we have the day-to-day.
We have relationships to cultivate, language skills to improve, and local professionals to train.
Alece Ronzino founded One Word 365 in 2009 to encourage people to move away from a list of resolutions and focus on just one word. One word to focus on every day, all year long…one word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.
I chose Calm as my word for 2014, because good gracious I knew I would need it when I felt like my hair was on fire.
This year, I’m choosing the word Persist.
I thought about Tackle, or Conquer. But I’m going to leave those on my desktop for now. Because the truth is, I realize that I am nowhere near tackling or conquering anything in my life.
Our cross-cultural transition is only beginning. I need energy and divine intervention to push me into the next level of language study. Adding a child to our family via adoption will bring all kinds of new dynamics. And the dissertation lying before me is one long battle of endurance.
So I’m just hoping to PERSIST.
I want to be present for those around me. I want to finish things well. I want to begin things well.
If you know me personally, you know that I get very excited and jump two feet into anything new and flashy. But the follow-through is where I drop a royal amount of balls.
There are lots of fragile balls rolling around on our plate this year, and I simply cannot drop them.
So I hope to persist. A day at a time, doing my best to continue in this life of ups and downs and unexpected curves…onto the promise that keeps us all pushing forward.