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2019 was not my favorite year. I was very excited thinking about 2020 coming up, and then I got laid off at the end of November. We’re now looking at the tightest budget our marriage has ever faced, with paying for daycare and making less at my new job. 2020 took on a grim hue.

Every year, I have my “one word” that I use to bring a level of intention and focus to the year. My husband started doing this before we met, and I love the habit. As I was trapped in the house today, in the 18*F temps and blowing snow, my two young kids being very sweet and very demanding, I happened to glance out the window and catch my neighbor snow-blowing his driveway. I didn’t actually see my neighbor, but I saw the high, white plume of snow shoot up above his hedges and catch the wind. The visual instantly reminded me of seeing Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve had the privilege of visiting that park several times in my life.

This year, we won’t be taking any vacations. I don’t get any paid time off anymore, and my husband is self-employed without any paid time off to speak of either. With tightening up the shoestrings, it’s going to be a very home-bound year. As I was remembering past trips and beautiful places I’ve been (like Yellowstone), I realized that my word this year needs to be Content.

It’s simply not going to be a very exciting year. Lots of work, raising very small humans, and enjoying the simple things is going to be my jam. So I will strive to be content. I will savor the look of the sky-high flying snow and remember the joy of exploding geisers. I will go snow-shoeing up our local mountain in a few weeks and think of hiking along glaciers in Montana and Canada. I will get to our cousin’s lake cabin this summer and remember the beautiful beaches of Australia and Fiji that I’ve been so privileged to visit, and be content with both those memories and of the current view I’m still privied to see.

I am an adventure-seeker, a travel-lover, an adrenaline-junkie. Sitting tight and staying close to home is not my preferred mode of operation. So Content will be my intention and my goal. A friend was encouraging my husband and I recently, reminding us of past decisions we’ve made that allow us to feel safe even in these tighter conditions we’re currently experiencing. And I was reminded that there are always seasons to life. There are very normal seasons of joy, and of suffering. Of surplus, and of deficiency. Of blessings, and of want. Of striving, and of rest. Of energy, and of stillness. So I will plan to embrace this – undoubtedly temporary – season of stillness and frugalness, knowing that the tides are always turning.

Going into 2020, whatever your hopes and dreams, or desperate longings, are, I encourage you to look around and find beauty right in front of your eyes. Beauty, love, and joy are always there if we look for them. We are free to choose joy, even in moments of suffering. And truly, if there ever was a secret to happiness, it’s choosing to be content with what we have and to seek the glorious in the ordinary.


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