My Word. Be.

Sometime last year, I started seeing one particular person on my Tracy Broemmer Author Facebook page talking about her word. She’s a very positive person, and though I don’t talk to her other than an occasional comment on her posts, I always enjoy seeing her status updates.

Even though she often discussed her word, I never gave the whole concept much thought. You know what I’m talking about…the whole choosing your word for the year and being inspired to become what that word says you are or to do what that word tells you to do.

Late last summer, I found myself looking at the whole idea, choosing a word for inspiration, with some interest. Family life here has changed so, so much in the past few years, and with my kids getting older, there are more changes to come in the near future. Some things we’ve been dealing with here are very heavy and very hard to think about. But some things have been incredibly rewarding and very enjoyable.

My mom was very ill a few years ago. I say that like I don’t know exactly when it was, but I do. Things since have been up and down, and she’s most definitely recovered physically, though now we are fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. That’s a horrid disease and a whole different blog post. Suffice it to say that as an only child, I’m very close to my parents and this has been a difficult journey. And only one change in our lives…

My husband travels quite often for his job, and when the kids were little, I went with him now and then. As much as I liked being with him, and as much fun as it was to see new places, I felt it was my responsibility to be at home with the kids. Well, my oldest will be 23 in 18 days and my baby will graduate from high school in May. Last year, I decided maybe it was time to start teaching the kids to live without me (read that as I admitted to myself that the kids don’t actually need me around 24/7) and nurturing my marriage—because let’s face it, we’ll be empty-nesters before long—and so, I started traveling more.

Starting in February last year, I went to Montreal with JB. In April, we went to Napa Valley to celebrate our wedding anniversary; May was Lake Tahoe for business. We packed up the family for our annual vacation in July, and we road tripped to Texas and back. In August, we had a weekend at the Ozarks to celebrate a cousin’s 20th wedding anniversary and the following week, JB and I flew to Colorado Springs for business. In September, we went to Philadelphia for his business and then had a weekend conference in St. Louis for me; October was a family trip to Cancun (with JB’s extended family) and a short trip to Vegas for his business. A few days after we got back from Vegas, I flew to Florida for a weekend with girlfriends—first time I’ve ever flown anywhere without JB. We ended the year with a trip to Boca Raton for JB’s business in December…

Somewhere in the midst of all of that travel, I panicked. What the heck was I doing?? I needed to be at home. It was wrong for me to be gone all the time…I should stay home and…what? Why? Why did I need to stay home? Yes, I love my house. I love my office. I love my routine. I love my dog, and you can’t call your dog or text him the way you can keep in touch with kids nowadays. But…why should I stay home when JB was out seeing all of these beautiful places? My kids know I love them, and they know that if they need me to be at home for something big—I had to back out of a book conference in Chicago last year because I wouldn’t miss my son’s senior homecoming dance—I’ll stay home.

I was scared of all the traveling. Why? Yes, it was fast paced, but so what? I scrambled a lot to get stuff done when I was at home. And by stuff, I mean normal stuff like laundry and keeping the house clean, but I also mean writing. Part of me felt like I was running behind all the time, trying to catch up with the writing.

And then it hit me one day late in the summer that it was okay. I was doing okay. A lot of women travel much more often than I do, and they survive. Maybe I would need to learn to adjust my schedule when I was home so I could be more productive, more efficient. But I was doing okay with stuff. My daughter picked up my slack with laundry stuff, which was a big help. My son does the dishes and cleans the kitchen now and then. They both do what they have to do—work and school—whether I’m here or not. And I published 4 books last year, so even though I felt like I would never catch up on writing, I did okay.

In August of 2016, I made a commitment to myself to change my lifestyle and be healthy. I’ve maintained a 40 pound weight loss, and I feel great. But last summer, I decided that wasn’t enough. Time to push more. Time to stop being afraid. Okay, yeah, I’m an introvert, and I need quiet, alone time to recharge. But there was no reason for me to live so quietly all the time. There’s a big world out there, and I was ready to live there and be happy there and thrive. I was ready to thrive.

Hmm…was that my word? Thrive? I considered it. I considered the word change. I considered the fact that no matter what my word was, I was done with the old me. I promised myself that I would do something every month, at least, to challenge myself. I would step out of the box and do something that made me nervous at least once a month. No, I don’t mean holding snakes or visiting haunted houses. I mean traveling with JB and not spending the entire time I’m away worrying. I mean meeting new people in my professional world. I mean participating in book conferences and signings and workshops. I mean pushing to do more, to reach more people with my books. The whole YOLO thing kind of smacked me right between the eyes, and boy, did that wake me up!

So, how am I doing with all of that, you ask me? Eh. Some days are good, and some days I realize I’ve fallen back into my old funk. Some days I put on my fancy jeans and boots and feel awesome and feel like I can take on the world one day at a time. Some days I need solitude and my house and my dog for comfort, and I don’t want to see or talk to anyone else.

More authors are jumping on the word thing now. I suppose it’s not just a book thing, but that’s my professional world, so I see authors’, readers’, and bloggers’ stuff more than anything else. I recently read one of my favorite author’s blog posts about her word, and while it inspired me and I would gladly read her grocery lists, I can’t remember now what her word was. But I know mine.

Be.

I like brave. I like strong. I like disciplined. I like adventurous. I like dauntless. I like compassionate. Caring. Loving. Forgiving. Loyal. Trusting.

I like the reminder to choose joy. I like the reminder to live in the moment.

So I choose the word…be. Just to remind myself to BE all of these things. To be myself, just maybe to choose every day to BE a better version of myself.

In January, I went to Charleston, South Carolina with JB on business. Loved it. Next month, we are going back to Napa and Sonoma (our favorite place) to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! In July, I am going to Denver—and I’ll be honest, scared to death about this!—to participate in my first ever RWA conference and have an opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors. And yes, there are more trips scheduled and more that will be scribbled on the schedule all willy-nilly and guess what? That totally wreaks havoc with my need to be in control of my schedule every single day…But…

It’ll be okay…Last year was fantastic, so why not just be in the moment this year and enjoy this life I live.