In each of my three children’s most recent parent-teacher conferences, there was one common theme. All three kids were doing very well in school, producing good work. But each teacher — of my three very different children — told us that our children need to learn to slow down. They need to learn to not rush through projects, lessons, and experiences and instead take the time to notice details, to check their work, and to take delight in their progress. They all seem to think of assignments as races — to be completed as fast as possible.
Turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Because even in my late 30s, their mama has yet to fully learn that lesson. Like my children, I do good work. I do work that I am proud of, and I even pay close attention to details. But, like my children, I tackle most of life like a race, to be completed as fast as possible. And in doing so, I miss many of the joys and delights that each moment holds.
The reality is, I like to be busy. I thrive on a full calendar, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. However, I don’t want to rush through life so quickly that I don’t take delight in it — that I don’t notice the sweetness of the moments or fully laugh at the saltiness of my kids. I don’t want a life that is a bland, flavorless blur of activities that I’ve been present for but not fully participated in. I don’t want that for my kids, and I don’t want it for me either.
So my word of the year for 2022 is savor.
Savor: “To give flavor to . . . to taste or smell with pleasure . . . to relish . . . to delight in.”
I can’t guarantee that I will slow down. In fact, if 37 years have taught me anything, it’s that I probably won’t ever slow down. But what I can work on is relishing and delighting in the ride. Noticing the flavors, taking pleasure in the sweetness, laughing at the saltiness — and even embracing the bitterness.
This year I want to work on creating intentional spaces to savor time with my family that is unrushed and unhurried, full of slow-simmered fun experiences and time with one another. But even when our lives are busy, as they undoubtedly will be, I want to cultivate awareness and grow in my ability to be fully present, to taste and sense with pleasure, to delight in the moments that all too soon are gone. And maybe, by watching me grow in this area, my kids will also start to savor the moments as well.