My word for the year was "quiet." This is a hard word for a woman who loves words, who loves sharing her opinion (usually in written form rather than out loud, unless I feel really comfortable with the person/group). I haven't been perfect at being quiet, but having it as my focus has kept me centered. In the times when I have wanted to rant, wanted to write, and wanted to opine, more times than not I have remembered to think before acting. Again, not perfectly. I can think of a couple of specific times when I wasn't quiet and probably should have been both online and in "real life."
Even with a focus on quiet, I found myself still being on social media more than I wanted to be. Liking people's status updates, commenting on pictures, sharing blog posts, quotes, and what my kids' did in school. This is not a bad thing. As a stay at home mom, I do not have a lunch break or a carpool commute or even a dreaded staff meeting in which I interact with other adults on a regular basis. The internet is my water cooler. But as autumn started turning into winter, I found myself being distracted and frustrated by the noise - from other people and from myself. So I spent the last half of December off of Facebook and limiting my time on other places of the internet.
And it was so good.
But it was hard at first. The first few days my fingers still automatically hit the blue and white "F" icon on my phone every time I hit unlock. I shudder to think this is a sign of addiction. Addiction to knowing what is going on with everyone everywhere, and this leads to discontentment. But I logged on only to respond to a couple of messages that ended up in my email and an event invitation. I hadn't felt intentional quiet like this all year. It has been freeing.
I read books each night. Lots of books. I don't feel as stressed during the day because I am oblivious to a lot of the drama going on around me - or not around me. It does feel weird to not know who might have announced a pregnancy or a prayer request. It is hard not to post funny Bubby quotes of the day or progress Bug has made this month. But I think I have a better understanding of what quiet is now and why it is so important.
What does this mean for the new year?
I don't want to get legalistic about my time online, but I am definitely cutting back when I return to facebook. I'm not going to be logging on just because I am bored or sad or lonely or frustrated. I am going to invest more in relationships both through modern technology, good old fashioned letter writing, and face to face interaction. And I'm going to continue to figure out what rhythms of quiet and rest look like in this phase of my life and for my family.
I had a couple of words I thought might be candidates for 2015. But on Sunday, right before service began, a completely different word entered my heart. If I thought "quiet" was a vague word for this year, I have no idea what will happen with my word for the new year. I'll be sharing about it tomorrow.