Life in the Fast Lane


What's Your Word for the Year?

By 11:09 AM , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I've been thinking about it the past few days.

In the book (and movie) Eat, Pray, Love, a good chunk of the story focused on Liz Gilbert's discovery of how she would define herself in one word. Eventually, she declared that "attraversiamo" — Italian for "let's cross over" — would be her word.

As for me, there are times when random words come to mind in certain situations. After all, I am a writer by profession; words are a part of my life almost as much as oxygen is. This being said, I have a habit of naming or wordsmithing experiences, lessons, circumstances, and the like. And I've been trying to come up with my word for the year 2017.

My word for 2016 was loss. There was a lot of it: loss in terms of death; loss in terms of breakdowns of security blankets and what I knew to be true and foundational; loss in terms of confusion and letting go. It was a painful year for the most part, despite some milestones and blessings here and there, but I think that the drama surrounding that year ultimately prepared me for the following year.

Fast forward to the end of 2017. After reflecting on the year that has been (not yet "was"; we still have a week and a half before we bid this year farewell), I think I have come up with my word for the year.

2017's word is surrender. 

Many, many times this year, I found myself relinquishing control of my circumstances, my situation, my thoughts, my feelings, and my expectations to the Lord. He taught me countless times what it really meant to declare "Not my will but Yours be done".

And there were three major points of surrender this year, which I would like to share.

The first is the surrendering of my body. As I said on many occasions, this was one year that saw me go through several health struggles. Tests, check-ups, consultations, weight loss, weight gain, sleepless nights, palpitations, more tests, more check-ups, more consultations, prescriptions, changes of prescription, a messed up cycle... the list goes on. I had never seen several hospitals, clinics, healthcare centers, doctors, and drugstores as much as I have this year. I did some crying (I'm not a cryer, so when I do cry, I've reached the point of no return), I went through a depression of sorts followed by a funk, and then I experienced numbness; I was kind of angry at the world in an I-don't-care-anymore kind of way. It was during this time that tightened my circles of support, making sure that only the people closest to me really knew what I was going through on a daily basis, though I was open about my condition on social media.

However, as the months passed and I learned to keep surrendering myself to the Lord (particularly, the part of my life that was an athlete), I grew in appreciation of the everyday blessings He would give me, and I learned to be more humble and content. By God's grace, after a painful and trying few months (the last four of which, I wasn't even allowed to train, let alone race), I was finally given the green light to ease back into my regular routine. I will usher in 2018 with hope as I surrender my dreams and plans to Him, praying that He will keep me healthy and strong for His glory.

Last week, when my doctor allowed me to start training again.

The second is the surrendering of my career. While I'm still in the same industry and within the same organization, I moved floors, I moved to a different team, and I also "moved" job description, if that makes sense. Since I am not a fan of change, per se, I had to adjust right away to a different set of dynamics and working style. But thankfully, the adjustment has been smooth and I welcome these new challenges in this new environment with a really supportive and open (pun intended) group of individuals.

My first day with my new team last July.

The third is the surrendering of our home. Not many people knew that we had moved residences, but surprise, we did! In the middle of August until early September, my family and I slowly let go of things we no longer needed, said goodbye to almost 19 years' worth of memories made in that house, packed up our stuff, and said hello to another house not too far from where we lived. It has been an interesting ride for each of us in the family, in different ways. Some were more ready than others to let go, but now, months later, we are enjoying this blessing from the Lord and we look forward to the new memories we will create where He has now placed us. Truly, He gives and takes away.

First night in our new home last September!
I still had hypothyroidism here, hence the obvious weight gain.

2017 has been a journey of recognizing that we don't own anything and that we are not entitled to what we have; the Lord owns everything and chooses to bless as He pleases. And I am thankful for both the trying times and the triumphant ones.

It was throughout this year that I felt my faith was taken to a deeper level; that I realized just how supportive and encouraging people can truly be, online and especially offline; that I learned to and chose to be thankful for even the most mundane of things (like waking up to 22ÂșC weather); that I got to enjoy lots of time spent with my family (in the trips we took together, the times we'd eat and hang out, and even on ordinary days at home); that I became thankful for the many friends who became a part of my journey this year; that I got to experience God's faithfulness, blessings, and miracles in the lives of people dear to me; that I saw and documented the many witty, smart, and funny things that my nephew would say and do as proof of how fast he's growing up; that I got to try new things, like hiking and boxing, and rekindle other passions, like photography.

While I know that 2018 might not be a perfect year, that there may be trials to come (and I pray that they won't be of the heartbreaking sort, to be perfectly honest; haha!), I claim that He will still be faithful and that His grace will be more than enough for me and my loved ones.

May you have a blessed Holiday season with your loved ones, and a grace-filled 2018!

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  1. Hi! I'm back! Been awhile. I've been working like a madman; 11-day work "week" with 13 hour days on some days. I had the pleasurable experience of sleeping in the conference room at work, because it was too late for me to go home.

    My 2016 was also marred by loss: mom passed away, I broke my arm in the most hellish way possible, my ex-girlfriend walked out on me, and I lost my job. All of that happened in the span of September to December of 2016. It sounds like a country song; unfortunately it did happen to me.

    I went into 2017 as hopeless as I can be, and at rock-bottom. February 2017, while at a job interview, my phone buzzed: it was a message from an old friend in college. Reconnecting with her helped put me back on my feet. March 2017, my supervisor called me up, and told me, "We want you back at work." I was beyond happy when I got that call. Second chances are a crime to waste. However, I was still angry. My 2017 word is "anger."

    I spent 2017 working like a man possessed. Work, work, work. And therapy.

    Entering 2018, my friend made me recount the brutal winter of 2016, and she said, "But it worked out in the end." And she's right. That was an insight I never saw. I was so mired in anger, guilt, hate, and fear. Her insight made me try to see what she, and others are seeing when they look at me.

    There are some things I could have done differently during those times; however I have forgiven myself. I can only hope others will forgive me as well. Through forgiveness, I hope to find redemption.

    So those are my words for 2018: forgiveness and redemption.

    Happy New Year, Tina!

    1. Haven't been checking my blog in so long! I hope the first half of your 2018 has been better than your 2016 and 2017. Wishing you all the best!


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