Word of the Year: Nourish
Oh my. It’s been more than two years since I last wrote here. That’s a record! Life has been overwhelming. There was a time when I was a stay at home, homeschooling mom who enjoyed cooking nourishing foods from scratch and finding ways to make it all work out even though our income was quite low. And then I became a single homeschooling mom and I still enjoyed cooking and making it all work on a meager income. And then my income became frightening small and I went back to school so now I am a full-time college student raising two kids who are both in school now on very little money and let me tell you that the current me has no time nor energy nor money to make nourishing foods from scratch these days. I’ve never been rich – far from it – but even then I was quite privileged compared to my life now.
I wish I could tell you here that I love it and that I wouldn’t change a thing, but that’s not quite true. As it happens, I definitely would not change anything, but only because the way my life is right now, is just the way it has to be right now. I’m finally finishing college and my kids are in schools that suit them well. There isn’t any room to change. I have no regrets in the life I have made for myself right now, but I cannot pretend it’s easy. These last six years of growth have had a toll on me and I am exhausted.
Don’t misunderstand – my life is not lacking in joy. My kids are growing up into incredible people that I am so proud to know and we have a lot of fun together. I am loving every minute of being at university and the fact that my responsibility right now is to read literature and discuss it and analyze it feels so luxurious and delicious that I have to pinch myself regularly to be sure I’m not dreaming. I somehow wound up with the two best cats I could dream of – they are just the perfect mix of quirky and not too troublesome. My apartment, while not my favorite location, is growing more and more homeish and lovely inside as I continue to, slowly, fix it up. There is a lot of joy in my life.
But I am tried. I am so tired.
And it’s made me get too far from my better habits. Where I used to eat whole foods cooked in wholesome ingredients, now I eat at taco shops way too often. Where I used to be regularly connected to my spirituality, now I find myself too busy to focus. Where I used to have time for art, now I find myself struggling to meet the minimums of all my to do lists. Where I used to feel good, now I feel terrible.
So this year I want to focus on the word nourish again.
I love the word nourish. I love the way it sounds and the way it feels to say. I love that it means more than just “healthy” – it means to feed yourself making holistic health the goal. And I don’t mean just food. You can nourish yourself with exercise, too. But also with kindness and better thinking. And sometimes with a break from everything healthy. The psyche is just as important to nourish as the physical body. Sometimes, let’s be honest, trashy TV is exactly what you need at the end of a long and difficult day. The key is to do it mindfully.
So I’ve made this little doodle. I plan to print it out in various sizes and post it in places in my life that will help me remember that nourishing me is the goal. I’ll put one on the fridge for obvious reasons, but also on my bathroom mirror to help me remember to nourish my health by flossing every night. One on my bedside table to remind me to nourish myself by sleeping well. I’ll make one my lock screen on my phone to remind me to use it in ways that nourish me rather than as a means of escape or mindlessly procrastinate (notice the use of the word “mindless” there, because surely some procrastination is nourishing). I’ve made this doodle in black and white so that, during the year when I inevitably fall into old patterns, I can color it up or decorate it in different ways to make it new and obvious again. Art is meditation is prayer. And new things in the environment remind me to refocus. Win-win!
My life is still overwhelming and it will be for the foreseeable future. I can’t simply decide things like “no more eating out!” when, quite frankly, that will be an unreasonable goal for me at times. Instead I want to relearn to take a moment to focus on the word nourish and decide whether eating out is the most nourishing thing for me at that moment. Maybe it is at that moment. The goal is simply to stop acting mindlessly and to start connecting with my whole self on a regular basis. Remembering to nourish me means to remember to nourish all of me.
Do you have a word for the year?