Faith, Family Farm, Farm Life, RHORI

Word of the Year: Joy

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I think you can make a resolution or a goal anytime, so why limit yourself to once a year? And I tend to act on mind-over-matter when it comes to goals. I once ran a half-marathon without training, acting on the idea that I could do anything if I told myself I could. My body may disagree with me now (remember stiff and crackly?) , but I did finish all 13.1 miles without ever walking.

Other people like using the new year as a timeline, with a specific date to make them act, kind of like having a school term paper due or a looming work project deadline. I can understand the motivation resolutions provide. I do believe it never hurts to evaluate yourself and how you can improve, and that’s what resolutions are for many people.

Abut a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend, Kristi, through an Illinois Farm Bureau leadership program. One of the first things I learned about her, was that she annually selects a “word of the year” to live by. She goes all out incorporating reminders of her word into her life. She finds as many ways as possible to add it into her household decor, she posts it on her desk, and places around her house where she will frequently see it. It’s a constant reminder of the word she selected and what it means.

The other neat thing about this practice, is that I can see it having a lasting impact, carrying over for life. When you spend an entire year reminding yourself to live in a way that reflects that word, I don’t believe you lose that way of acting when you select a new word the following year.

I love this idea so much, I’ve decided to start doing it. I have selected “Joy” for 2018. It was an easy choice. Not only is it my middle name, so I’m already loaded with “joy” decor, but it’s also a downright fabulous word to live by.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of joy is as follows:

1 a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
2 : a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
3 : a source or cause of delight

I like to think of it as a feeling of happiness. Farming is full of ups and downs, with much uncertainty, not only in our production from year-to-year, but also the weather, the commodity markets and prices we can sell for, etc. And life in general certainly has peaks and valleys, that we all can relate to. I’m going to use “joy” to keep a positive outlook through the challenging times I’ll inevitably face. This doesn’t apply only to big challenges. This will be valuable even the day to day things, like stubbing your toe on a toy or struggling to get the kids to bed. If you are a parent, you get it. I think those are the times where I need “joy” in my life the most!

I even put “joy” on our Christmas cards this year. From our family to yours, here’s to hoping your 2018 is full of joy!

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