“I’m looking for corny in my life.”–from the movie The Holiday. Because I’ve been watching that Nancy Meyers film (I’m a big fan of Nancy’s) for the past ten plus years, that quote isn’t new to me. I’ve heard Kate Winslet deliver it each and every time–never miss it. And, while I don’t laugh out loud, I do think to myself: “That’s a funny line.” Then I move on. But, this past Christmas, my thought changed into: “How would I fill in the blank?” Am I looking for corny like Kate was? Not really. So, what then? Can I answer in one word like she did? Could you? What are you looking for in your life? Is there something you’d like to welcome into your day to day?
Say this out loud with me–I’m looking for __________ in my life. Now say it again and actually fill in the blank with the first word that comes to your mind. What’d you choose? Extravagance? Friends? Reasons? Purpose? Expansiveness? Couldn’t think of one? Don’t worry. I can offer you Five Steps to help you figure it out and find that word that encompasses all you really want right now or for the new year. Woah. Big promise from one word, I know. But, once you find it, it can be a great guide for you.
Every year on my birthday and every new year, I do something called a 50/50 list. I got this concept from the book The Me Project by Kathi Lipp https://www.kathilipp.com/books/the-me-project/. The idea is to write down 50 things you wanna do before you’re 50. But, if you’re 60, you could make it a 50/60 list–it doesn’t matter how old you are. These 50 items could be things you want to learn or see or write or do. What you include are the things that are on your horizon and completely plausible, they just haven’t happened yet.
In The Me Project, Kathi goes into how to make that list work for you, but we’re gonna do something a little different with it. If you have time, I encourage you to list those 50. But, if you’re pressed for time, try to come up with at least 10 things. Just 10. Grab a post-it note or the back of an envelope and jot down the first things that come to your mind. That’s Step One.
Just to give you an example, here are the first ten of mine from August 2020:
Step Two is to look at the list with an investigator’s eyes. We’re looking for clues, relationships–themes. From mine I see that I’m looking for places to go to recharge and restore. I’m also looking to reconnect with my spirituality as well as with art.
Step Three is to write down those words or descriptors you noticed. My list would include all the things I mentioned: recharge, restore, reconnect, spirituality, and art.
Step Four is to make all those words into nouns. Restore becomes restoration. Reconnect becomes reconnection. Spirituality and art are already nouns. “Recharge,” though, needs a little more attention. Think of some synonyms (gotta be nouns) that can replace it. When I recharge, I contemplate, so I wrote down contemplation. Also, when I recharge, I’m looking for a tranquil space, so I wrote down tranquility. And, if I’m recharging, there’s probably gonna be a much needed amount of silence (literally or mentally).
Step Five is to try these words on for size. If they don’t quite fit, come up with more synonyms. For example, I really like contemplation. I think that’s the closest to what I’m really wanting to see more of in my life. However, when I say: I’m looking for contemplation in my life, it doesn’t really fit. So, I brainstormed and consulted a thesaurus. These words interested me: introspection, examination, concentration, and reflection. As I substituted each word in the blank, one fit more than the others, and I liked it. Here it is: I’m looking for concentration in my life. Ta da! I found my word.
I hope you take the time to think about what you need more of in your life. It’s nineteen days into a new year as I write this, so it’s a good time to figure it out. Even if you don’t have a word right now, I encourage you to keep working on filling in your blank. Use the Five Steps I gave you. They’re meant to be used again and again. Knowing what you’re looking for in your life, whether it’s for the next year, the next month, or even the next week just gives you clarity about what you need right now more than anything else. I promise; it’s worth it.