Farewell 2011!

Well if ever there’s been a year that felt like a roller-coaster ride, 2011 would be it.

A year of losses…

A year of gains…

A year of new burdens to bear…

A year of change.

There is no doubt that I exited 2011 a completely different woman, in a completely different season of life and with completely new thought patterns than when I entered it.

I could probably write 10,000 words or more about what all has changed (but if I did that I’d end up with even fewer readers that I have now – so I’m not going to do that).

The one thing that is very obvious to me as 2011 has closed and I step foot in 2012 is that the meaning of the words I use is suddenly very important to me.

I’m super guilty of exaggerating things and I’m even guilty of saying I’m going to do things but never following through on the commitment. And I’ve also been on the other end of the exaggeration or broken commitment, so I know the distrust those types of things cause in relationships with people.

The other thing is that there are so many idioms and cliches in our speech today that you can’t take a lot of things people say literally.  So, between exaggerations, flippantly-made commitments, and idioms – can you really trust what people tell you?

Well, 2011 has certainly given me my fair share (though sometimes I’ve thought it was a very unfair share) of situations that broke my trust in what people I loved told me.  And as I said earlier, I don’t doubt that people’s trust in me has been broken too, but recently it has become important to me that I do not use my words and people’s trust recklessly.

Some of the things that I have been keenly aware of recently is how much we use “absolute” words – like “always” or “never” or “no one” – words that indicate that there are no exceptions to what you are talking about.

Are you sure you ALWAYS think/say/feel that way?

Are you sure you’d NEVER do/say/think that?

Are you sure that NO ONE has ever…..

Are you sure?  Cuz I’m not…. not anymore.  I probably used to be (or at least think I was) sure, but things that I was so sure that always/never happened began to show that they weren’t always/never so.

Something else that I have found myself doing (and almost to a fault, just ask Ken) is clarifying my own words, because I want my words to say what I intend them to mean, without any confusion or ambiguity.

For example, there’s a show on TV (I have no idea what it’s called or what channel it comes on) that has a therapist walking people through overcoming their phobias.  The one we saw part of the other day had 3 people – one with a fear of bats, one with a fear of mice, and one with a fear of roaches.  And Ken made a comment like “I’m not a fan of those things and I don’t like them in my house, but I’m not scared of them.”  And as I’m thinking about what he said and processing whether or not I agree and remembering calling a friend to come kill a roach in my house and me jumping 7 feet across the room when it crawled out of a hole in the wall, I came to a conclusion:

“Those things do not instill fear in me, though to encounter any one of them would startle me.” And then I went into clarification mode to explain how someone would say “that scared me”, but really there is not a fear in them concerning that thing, they were just startled, but people use “scared” and “startled” as the same thing, but they are really not the same thing.

Ken’s response was “Ok, I get it.  I knew what you meant.”

And he’s probably not the only one who has thought that, but I would rather you tell me “ok, I get it” rather than me assume you got it and then you go on thinking that I meant something that I really didn’t mean.

So, with that, you can probably expect blogs from me that follow that clarifying trend.  And I hope you’ll be able to say “ok, I get it”.

Happy New Year!