life

My 2019 Guiding Word

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You can grow flowers from where dirt used to be — Kate Nash

I didn’t know if I was going to do a word this year. I did it last year and while I definitely lived up to the whole zero fucks to give thing, the last few months of the year have been such a shitshow that choosing a word to carry me forward seemed like too much effort.

But then there I was at 10:30 pm on December 31, 2018, sitting on the couch watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers with my husband when it hit me.

Bloom.

Truthfully, I was sitting on the couch watching ol’ Elijah Wood and thinking about tattoos.

Ever since getting my shoulder piece done in November, I’ve already been thinking about what I’ll get next because obviously I need another shoulder piece to balance things out. And then I was thinking about how my sister and I had this whole conversation about tattoos after our mom died and Sissy mentioned maybe getting one in Mom’s handwriting, but the only thing we really had was Plant bulbs — the last note she left our dad on the small whiteboard in their kitchen.

And then, of course, I was thinking about my mom.

From the moment she was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall of 2017 to the day she died in the early hours of October 10, 2018, she never complained about her diagnosis or illness. Maybe privately she did, but never that any of us saw. Her cancer was treated with the same grace and stoicism (and occasional sarcasm) as every other part of her life. This was the hand she had been dealt, and this was the hand she was going to play. During that final year, she met her grandson, attended our wedding, and traveled to London with my dad and even got to see Hamilton.

She was the living embodiment of the phrase Bloom where you are planted.

I’ve heard the phrase two ways: the one above but also Grow where you are planted. It’s a subtle shift in language but the shift in meaning is significant. To grow where you are planted suggests merely surviving while bloom suggests thriving. It suggests not just accepting the world in which you’ve been planted but actively making it better.

Had you asked me a month ago which I preferred, I would have told you grow. I’m a realist, not an optimist. But the closer I got to 2019, the more I realized growing wasn’t enough. Big things are happening next year — both known and unknown. I spent part of Monday in my Bullet Journal, outlining goals for the coming year and beyond. Accepting the world in which I’ve been planted isn’t enough anymore.

I survived 2018. But in 2019 I want to thrive.

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7 thoughts on “My 2019 Guiding Word”

  1. Oh. I love this so much. May 2019 be a happy, strong year for you & your family. I can only imagine how much you still miss your mother (& will continue to), but I think this tattoo will be such a wonderful tribute to her memory & her legacy. Can’t wait to see it. ❤

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  2. I really do love this. Bloom and thrive are amazing words and perfect for you right now. I was trying to thin of a word for my 2019, but alas, I keep coming up with like 5 words so resolutions may be my method right now (which i DON’T typically do). From what I can tell, 2019 is going to be an amazing year for you (you have so many goals you’ve shared on social media – you are amazing and an inspiration!).

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  3. What a beautiful post. I’m hoping that 2019 will be a happier year for you. I think that bloom is an excellent word of the year. This quote from Oprah seems fitting, “You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more.”

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  4. Great word, Jill! And best wishes for ‘blooming’ good year!!!
    I choose a word every year – this year has big plans (although somewhat lost my focus, but after reading your book, I think I’m back on track) so I needed a word to match: GRIT.
    As a new reader of your blog, I offer my deepest sympathies for the loss of your mom ❤

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