Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I make a habit of selecting a one-word theme each year. This theme serves as sort of an over-arching beacon for my goals, activities, and introspection for that given year. Some examples of themes that I have chosen during the past decade include simplicity, joy, deliberate, balance, peace, and essential. I have found that each theme tends to lead into the following one such that it’s not difficult at all to decide how I want to focus the coming year.

My theme for 2019 has been “freedom.” This theme was introduced in January, and I also wrapped up my 2018 theme (essential) in the same post. Over the course of this year, I’ve written about my freedom theme in multiple posts, including an update at the halfway point in June and some thoughts about how technology impacts our freedom. I’ve given a great deal of thought this year to the role of freedom in my life. I’ve made some changes that have helped me to feel freer, but there is still a lot of work to be done in this arena. However, as the year is drawing to a close, it’s time for me to reflect on where I am with freedom today and how I’d like to continue to transform in the coming year and beyond.

Wrapping up my freedom theme

I focused on “freedom” throughout 2019 and have made some positive changes in my life. 

What’s Changed Since My June Update

When I did my June freedom update, I shared a list of ways in which I had already embraced freedom more fully this year. I also listed a number of other shifts that I wanted to experience related to freedom before the year is over. I have made progress in a few of these areas, but I continue to feel challenged by others. Because I like to acknowledge the positive steps I’ve taken, I will start there.

Fewer Items on My To-Do List

I used to be a fierce “taskmaster” who would list out more to-do list items than pretty much any human could accomplish within an allotted day, week, or month. Earlier this year, I used a weekly planning form that had room for twenty-five tasks and my top five priorities. I always filled in all of the slots on the page and then turned the page over to list still more items. Then I would be upset when the week ended and I hadn’t crossed out every single item on the list. Such a practice was definitely a recipe for discontent!

I gave up the weekly planning form a few months ago in favor of a basic paper planner, but I continued to write a fairly lengthy to-do list each week, and I was still unhappy when I wasn’t able to complete everything. Fortunately, that changed with my discovery of the “just one thing” approach that I wrote about in my last post. I’m now keeping a master to-do list in the back of my planner and selecting only one key priority for each day. This approach still needs a bit of fine tuning, though, as I don’t always do my “one thing” early in the day (as an example, working on this blog post was my one thing for today – Thursday – and as I’m writing this, it’s now well into the evening!). Regardless of the “hiccups” I still need to work out, I’m now feeling less anxious and more accomplished, which will hopefully work to increase my sense of freedom. I fully intend to keep going with the “just one thing” approach in 2020.

Reaching a Happy Medium in Terms of Contact

I’m doing a lot better with feeling less obligated to keep in touch with people on a super regular basis. I still feel guilty that I’m not as “on” as most others seem to be, but I’m honoring myself, my needs, and my energy levels by stepping back from social media, email, and other means of connection. I’m aiming for quality over quantity and hoping that those I care about will feel loved and honored by me even if I’m not in touch as often. I also hope that the guilty feelings will subside as time goes on, as I’m tired of being wracked by guilt so much of the time. As I mentioned in my “Thoughts as the Decade Fades” post, I’d like to leave unnecessary guilt in this decade and not carry it forward into 2020 and beyond!

Eating is Less Fraught for Me

As someone who obsessed about food and weight for literally decades, I don’t want to live my life that way. When I wrote my June update, I lamented the excessive amount of time that I was spending on preparing and eating food. I’m pleased to say that this has improved, as I have discovered some simpler ways of receiving appropriate nourishment. Not only have I come up with a “menu” of easier meals to choose from, I also found a nutritious, low-carb meal replacement option that I now use once or twice a day.

While I’m not currently following the trendy ketogenic diet that’s all the rage in the US, I’ve noticed that I don’t tolerate carbs or sugar as well as I did when I was younger. I’ve also learned that if I start my day off with ample protein, my blood sugar stays more balanced and I feel better overall. Since I’m not someone who likes to eat anything heavy in the mornings, the meal replacement shake has been serving me well as my breakfast nearly every day. I’ve also lost some weight since I started using this meal replacement (I don’t know how much since I never weigh myself), as well as through using the Fitbit device that I received as a birthday present back in August.

Wardrobe Changes

I don’t miss the wardrobe tracking that used to be such a big part of my life. It served a useful purpose for me while it lasted, but it’s important to realize when it’s time to move on from practices that are no longer serving us. I like the freedom inherent in just wearing my clothes and not giving too much thought to how often I’m wearing them. I still have a good sense of what I am and am not wearing, but I no longer need to calculate the nitty-gritty statistics that were commonplace on Recovering Shopaholic for years.

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of pieces since I started my “half project” back in May (latest update HERE). While I can’t yet say that I’ve made peace with my menopausal body, I have been willing to let go of most of the items that no longer fit my current shape and size. I have also passed on most garments that are uncomfortable for me, either physically or emotionally. My ultimate goal is to be able to get dressed and then forget about my outfit when I leave the house. I want to be able to focus fully on the activity I’m doing and have the clothes take a backseat to the people I’m with and the enjoyment I’m experiencing in living my life. I’m not there yet, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is great.

Another helpful change I’ve made recently is that I modified the way I organize my closet. I used to organize my tops by sleeve length and then by color, with the prints being categorized by their dominant color and mixed in with everything. I now have all of the prints together and all of the solids together, still separated out by sleeve length and color. I did this for both my tops and my toppers (I don’t have many pants and most of them are solids). This reorganization has shown me some of the primary issues with my wardrobe, including the fact that I have too many solid black tops and not enough solids in other colors. I also saw that most of my toppers are solids and that I could stand to add a few printed pieces in that category. The reorganization has also made it easier for me to get dressed (your mileage may vary…), which is helpful in terms of my clothing-related freedom.

Where I’m Still Struggling Related to Freedom

I’m proud of the positive changes I’ve made related to my freedom. Some of the shifts have been relatively small, but the cumulative effect has made a significant difference in my life. That said, I continue to feel challenged in some key areas, including time management and worrying about what others think. Below are some of my thoughts on both of those topics.

Time Management Challenges

Beating myself up for my lack of productivity is something I’d like to stop doing. I don’t need to accomplish hundreds – or even ten – tasks each day. I just need to be moving forward with things that are important to me. Some days I do better with that than others, but I believe that the “just one thing” approach will help me to set priorities and advance them. What’s true is that a little bit at a time can add up to a lot over the course of a year or a few years. I have written two books and over 500 essays (see HERE and HERE) at this point, but these things were all accomplished gradually. It’s like the old saying goes… “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…” Of course, none of us actually wants to eat an elephant, but some of our goals can seem as gargantuan as those types of wild beasts.

I think that my biggest time management challenge is getting going in the morning, so I believe that incorporating a very basic morning routine would be helpful. I’m going to try out a few options and see what works best for me (I’m sure I will write about my findings…), but I know that the status quo of lagging and then feeling bad about it should not continue. I’m not even going to require myself to get up early (I realize that I’m fortunate to have this choice!), as I often struggle with insomnia and I now better recognize the importance of sleep (and my Fitbit assigns me a sleep score each day that is sometimes quite sobering).

I think a “just one thing” approach to habit change may serve me well, so I’m only going to focus on improving my mornings and see how that goes. I think I will feel freer if I get going earlier and do my key priority (my one thing) as soon as possible each day. That way, I can incorporate more fun into my days, knowing that I have done what’s most important to me and my goals. I want to get outside during the daylight hours more often, too, especially during the shorter days of winter. I do make a point of walking by the water frequently, but it’s good for my well-being and my health to enjoy some fresh air while it’s still light outside.

The Opinions of Others

I’ve known for a long time that I worry excessively about what other people think of me, but I didn’t fully understand the scope of my problem until recently. I actually struggle with social anxiety and that’s a big part of my issues with shopping and my wardrobe. I often feel inferior to others in terms of how I look and I compare myself unfavorably to the way others are dressed and how their hair and make-up looks. I don’t feel at ease in social situations and I mostly avoid them, but this is something I’d like to change.

I would like to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I want to go back to the days when I had my own distinct sense of style and I didn’t try so hard to measure up to societal standards for how one should look and dress. I was what one might call a “quirky dresser” and although I don’t desire to go back to the way I used to dress, I would like to return to the state of following my own muse.

I kind of lost my way in my late thirties when I feared turning forty and thought that I should start dressing more mature and sophisticated. I started watching “What Not to Wear” and tried to adopt the urban New York style wardrobe that the hosts prescribed to most of their makeover subjects. The thing was, though, that blazers and pumps weren’t a good match for either my lifestyle or my personality. Not only did I start to dress in-authentically as I attempted to “dress my age,” I also became much more self-conscious about how I looked. I was afraid of failing at my new way of dressing and looking conspicuous and “off.”

What I’ve learned this year is that I feel happier and less self-conscious when I’m wearing what I wear to go for a walk or to the gym. I feel like I’m just being me and not trying to measure up to any type of external standard. I would like to extend this feeling of “free to be me” to the rest of my life as we move into 2020. This means that I’m going to stop trying to wear what I think other people will approve of and I’m going to just dress in a way that makes me happy. If something is “in” but I just plain don’t like it, I’m going to leave it alone and wear what I like. If I end up looking like I should be nominated for “What Not to Wear,” so be it. The show is off the air, anyway!

I doubt I will look like a big fashion “don’t” because I actually prefer a more minimal style these days. I like to look streamlined and elegant more than quirky now. My style aesthetic has changed, as will happen for most of us over the years, but it doesn’t generally shift in exactly the same way as the trends do. There is freedom in not trying to be trendy, at least there is for me. I don’t think that dressing to please myself will solve all of my social anxiety or compulsive shopping woes, but it’s a start and it’s the “one thing” that I’m going to focus on for now. One step at a time…

Conclusion

I feel a lot better about my freedom theme than when I sat down to write this post. I realize that I have taken more positive strides with the freedom in my life than I originally thought. I also understand that I have a more optimistic outlook than I did even just a couple of weeks ago, when I stopped trying to do all the things and started zeroing in on the key tasks and objectives that will make the biggest difference for me. I may not be where I’d ultimately like to be with my feeling and experience of freedom, but I have made progress. And as I used to say about my wardrobe and shopping on Recovering Shopaholic (and it’s still true there as well), progress over perfection!

I’m glad I selected freedom as my theme for 2019 and I believe it served me well. While I will be selecting a new theme for 2020 (which I will introduce in my next post), I’m not leaving freedom behind.  As has been the case in previous years, my themes have continued to percolate in my awareness and help me in my quest for a happier and more fulfilling life. Freedom is one of my key values and I want to make sure I’m honoring it in how I live my life. The reflections I’ve shared today will assist me in keeping freedom in my mind and in my heart as I move forward.

Your Thoughts?

Now I’d love to hear from you. I know that not all of you selected themes for the year, but you’re all welcome to weigh in. Here are some questions to help channel your thoughts:

  1. Did you select a theme for 2019? If so, what was it and how do you feel you did with it overall? What did you learn about yourself in the process?
  2. If you didn’t select a 2019 theme, how do you feel about your year as a whole? What progress have you made? Where did you feel most challenged?
  3. What do you want to carry forward into 2020? What do you want to leave behind?

I invite you to share your insights on the above questions, what I wrote about in this post, or whatever you’d like to comment on. I welcome your feedback!

This will be my last post before Christmas, so I want to wish all of those who celebrate a very merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy your time with family and friends. I’ll be back before the end of the year to announce my 2020 theme and why I have selected it. Thank you for reading and many blessings to you all!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate! 

28 thoughts on “Wrapping Up My 2019 “Freedom” Theme

  1. Tara C says:

    I can’t remember what my exact word was right now, but it was along the lines of surrender/letting go, letting life unfold without trying to control everything. The phrase in my head lately is, Rejoice in the way things are. Love the moment exactly as it is, without wishing things were different. That is helping me feel grateful and more relaxed.

    My word for 2020 is joy and my focus will be seeking out joy and specifically turning away from buying things and focusing on what I have or don’t have, simply enjoying where I am and what I’m doing at that moment.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Wonderful thoughts, Tara, and I resonate with everything you wrote. It must be that we are so close in age and have similar lives in some ways. “Rejoice in the way things are” is a great sentiment and something I need to take on! I had “joy” as my word in 2013 (along with simplicity – I chose two words that year, which I felt diluted my focus somewhat, but it was hard to choose. I hope this word will serve you well. I like what you wrote about it!

  2. Jenn says:

    It sounds as though you’ve made significant gains in freedom this past year. I’m curious about your word choice for 2020. You’ve picked some good ones!
    As I mentioned in a recent comment, I’m considering choosing up to five words for 2020, but they may apply to different aspects of my life. I still have some thinking to do…

    I’ve also noted some specific changes I want to make in 2020. First, I want to keep a shopping journal. Second, I want to read more—when I’m still relatively sharp. Not save it for late at night when I’m not so tired. Third, I want to make more time for cooking healthy meals.

    And finally, fourth, I want to change how I approach my writing. I’m currently editing my second novel. (My first isn’t terrible, but it’s not good enough to publish.) At the same time, I want to experiment more with personal essays and poetry. So, I’m planning to “reward” myself for time spent working on this beast of a story by allowing myself a fraction of that time to “play” with other ideas. I also want to stop requesting input on my writing from the two critique groups I participate with until I am happy with it myself. These writers have become my friends and mentors, and I’ve benefited from their advice, but I don’t need it as early as I did before. I’ll still participate and offer critiques of others’ work. But for now, I want to feel my words can flow freely without the outside influence. I want to write for the reasons I started to write. To express myself, and for the joy of it. And worry about editing later.

    I can relate to your social anxiety and feelings of not measuring up to others. I have a long-standing battle with self-esteem. Now that I’m retired from a Fortune 500 company where I dealt with hundreds of personalities (not all good) throughout the day, it’s improved somewhat. Part of that improvement might have come from age (sixty), and part from having less stimulus and more time to devote to personal growth.

    Early in 2019, I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. I also took an online Life Coaching class for writers and downloaded the application Done on which I track my progress with certain habits. I’ve benefited from all of these. I still get off-track from time to time (especially this time of year), but I’ve made progress in several areas of my life. Especially in reducing my procrastination with writing and the resultant guilt.

    My word for the year was contentment, and while I am—overall—content with my life, I’m not sure this word provided me with inspiration to make significant gains in this area.

    As described above, I want to create a better balance in my life. I’d also like to continue to grow, learn to reduce my negative self-talk, get a handle on my shopping, (slowly!) create a cohesive wardrobe that reflects who I am. To help facilitate that, I’ve come up with five adjectives that I want my clothing to express—overall: Soft, casual, creative, smart, and feminine. In essence, I want my outfits to look effortless, yet be intentional.

    Merry Christmas to you, too, Debbie.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I will be interested to near what your five words are, Jenn, and how it goes for you to go through the year with them. I like the changes you have laid out for yourself in 2020 and I could see taking some of them on myself. I love the shopping journal idea! Although I do keep track of what I buy and what I purge, it sometimes takes me a while to do updates and I would like to do better with that next year. Great ideas about writing, too! I wish you the best of luck with finishing your second novel. Expressing yourself for the joy of it is the best way to approach writing, I think. I want to read “Atomic Habits” and it’s on my list for early next year. The Done app sounds interesting and I will check it out. Maybe “balance” should be one of your five words for 2020… While I will keep to just one word/theme for the year, I think I will adopt your practice (which I know you got from someone else) of choosing five adjectives for your style. I’m still pondering what I want mine to be, but I like the idea of effortless yet intentional.You always are so open with your comments and I really appreciate it. I hope you will continue to share how things go for you in 2020.

      1. Jenn says:

        Debbie, “balance” is definitely one of my words, and possibly my only word. It applies to all facets of my life that I want to work on–home writing, and wardrobe/shopping, The other words I have in mind inspire me in only one or two of these areas. I may end up using them as sort of “project” words instead of goal words.

        Another book I found very enlightening for 2019 was “The Untethered Soul.”

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Having “project” words sounds like a good way to zero in more on how we want our lives to be in particular areas. You always get me thinking, Jenn! When I had “balance” as my word of the year, it helped me a lot. You can see what I wrote about it in the archives (if you weren’t a reader back then – I think it was 2016). I have heard of “The Untethered Soul” and have been intrigued, but I haven’t read it yet. I will add it to my list for 2020.

  3. Terra says:

    Lovely closing thoughts for the year Debbie. May beauty, joy, peace and freedom surround you. Yes! I’ve selected my word-theme for the year and I’m in the process of writing about it. Look for my blog/journal post forthcoming on January 1, 2020.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I look forward to reading your January 1st post, Terra, and to learning your word-theme and why you chose it. Sending the same wishes right back to you for beauty, joy, peace, and freedom! I hope to see you in 2020 and have another one of our great long talks. xo!

  4. Tonya says:

    My word was release. When I chose it I said I wanted to stop taking on things that weren’t mine to carry. I think I’ve done pretty well with it. I released expectations, both of myself and others. I started releasing guilt. I spent a lot more time alone this year and tried to prioritize self care and doing things that were in my best interest. One of the most helpful things that I started doing this year I got from a mutual friend of ours who said “What if it’s good enough”. I started telling myself that quite a bit. It worked for physical things like the amount I did. It worked for mental things like when I was down on myself for not being the kindest, most generous, and least judgmental version of myself- basically being human. When I stopped being so hard on myself I actually felt like I was more like I wanted to be than I was when I criticized myself so harshly. That might fit in with your theme of freedom too?

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I remember that you selected “release” as your word, Tonya, and I thought it was a good one for you. I’m glad that it has served you well over the course of the year. Releasing guilt and prioritizing self-care are very positive changes! I love the “What if it’s good enough?” question! I think that can play a useful role in my theme for 2020 (as well as with my ongoing journey toward more freedom)… What you wrote about being down on yourself resonates with me and I’m glad that you are no longer being so hard on yourself. Sounds like you had some big wins this year and I’m happy for you!

  5. Katrina B says:

    Debbie I’m so happy that you had progress in so many areas. It’s interesting that each year as we wrap up and look at our word there is always a feeling of unfinished business. I think part of that may be because we have spent the entire year with an increased awareness of that aspect of our lives and now we see things more clearly. There’s more to do here! This could be better! I could work on that!

    My word for 2019 was Love. It was quite vague, and I did have some misgivings about that, but decided to leave it and see where it took me. I think overall it was a good guiding principle and reminder to see the good in people and connection between all of us, even at the most difficult times when I might have had trouble relating. However, sometimes I am overly empathetic to the point of blocking my own feelings because I get so caught up in other people’s. So from that perspective, I definitely didn’t need “Love” as a reminder to relate to others. I tried to learn about and practice self-love, which is difficult because for women of my generation we tend to relate it to the worst kind of personality flaw: selfishness. Fortunately I spend the majority of my time alone, so there are rarely other people demanding my time or judging me. I think what I will carry forward is some work around balancing my empathy for others and maintaining self love; basically, I need to establish and/or shore up my boundaries.

    I don’t know what my word will be for 2020 yet, but I do know that I’ve done better with more specific, active words in the past. I can relate them to a goal and come up with plans and it all feels much more concrete and accessible. I don’t stress about having a word right on January 1 or on any particular date at all, so I will take my time and do some exercises and wait for the right one to come to me.

    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and also Happy Holidays to all of your wonderful readers.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Sounds like you got a lot out of having “love” as your word for this year, Katrina. I’m glad you decided to go with it even though it felt vague to you at the outset. I’m very much like you in terms of being empathetic to the point of blocking (and ignoring) my own feelings. That has been something I’ve been working on, too. I wish you the best with continuing your work on self-love and boundaries in 2020 – and with selecting your next word of the year. I tend to do better on words that feel more concrete, too, but it also helps me to write about my word on a regular basis. I didn’t write about freedom as much as I would have like to this year, but I’m still happy to have gotten a good amount out of it. Yes, take your time with choosing your next word. It has often been well into January when I have chosen mine and it’s really not too late to do it at any point!

  6. Sally says:

    Dear Debbie

    It’s great to see you ending the year on a far more positive note and focusing more on your achievements and the progress you have made.

    If you put yourself at the top of your To-Do List every single day, then the rest will fall into place.

    This has been a very difficult year for me, I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, panic disorder and major depressive disorder and it has been a struggle just to get through each day and “Survive”, but I have.

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I need to focus on in 2020 and it is:

    “Self-Compassion – extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.”

    These quotes on Self-Compassion really resonated with me:

    Colleen George:
    “Be a little bit gentler with yourself. Forgive yourself more. Practice Self-Compassion. And remember that you don’t have to put on a brave face all the time. You don’t have to be any certain way to be loved. Just do what you can with where you are. That is enough”

    Kristen Neff:
    “Have Self-Compassion. Just when self-esteem deserts you, self-compassion steps in and gives you a sense of being valuable, not because you’ve reached some standard or you’ve judged yourself positively, but because you are a human being worthy of love in that moment”

    Suzanne Heyn:
    “ The journey isn’t about becoming a different person, but loving who you are right now”

    I look forward to finding out what your theme is for 2020 and in the meantime, hope you have a great Xmas and New Year.

    Love Sally

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for sharing those beautiful quotes, Sally. I really resonated with them and I definitely need to work on my self-compassion, as I can be extremely hard on myself. I especially liked this line: “You don’t have to be any certain way to be loved” (including by ourselves!). I’m so sorry that you have struggled so much this year and I hope that 2020 will be brighter and easier for you. You are a very caring and compassionate person and it has always touched me how much you have tried to help me and my readers even in the midst of the deep and dark place you’ve been in yourself. May the warmth and love you have extended to others come back to you two-fold or more!

    2. Samantha says:

      And best wishes to your readers who make this blog so special too

      1. Debbie Roes says:

        Definitely best wishes to all of my readers – those who comment and those who don’t. I’m extremely blessed to have such a wonderful group of people who are interested in reading my words!

  7. Samantha says:

    I mainly want to send you merry Christmas wishes and congratulations on your path to more freedom! I didn’t select a theme but felt inspired by yours and feel I have gotten better at letting go of the past. I find it hard to chose a single theme for a whole year! So if I do pick one, it will be as open as ‘freedom’ – maybe ‘energy’ or ‘intuition’…

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Samantha! I’m so glad that my freedom theme helped to inspire you to let go of the past. Yes, it’s very hard to choose just one theme for an entire year… You might want to try what Jenn (see her comments above) is trying for 2020. She plans to select FIVE words to use as touchstones for the coming year, with one being her main word/theme and the others relating to particular areas of your life. There is no one right way to do this, and of course no one needs to do it at all, as it’s just one way of approaching a new year. You have some great word ideas that you’re pondering and I wish you all the best with making your selection (or maybe you can just use all three…).

      1. Samantha says:

        Great idea, it doesn’t have to be one word or none after all. You did explain even two made it harder for you to focus, but it could be the best way for me to start at the moment, as for Jenn. Will select 3-5 by January 1st! Thank you – and sorry I posted my PS after Sally’s comments. Looking forward to discovering what your new word will be…

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          No worries about where you P.S. appeared, Samantha. Sometimes these threaded comments can be a bit confusing… I look forward to learning what you decide in terms of your 2020 words. I plan to share my word and why I chose it tomorrow (starting the post today…).

  8. Krissie says:

    Debbie, I was going to write a quite long reply, but unfortunately time has beaten me again and since I celebrate Christmas tomorrow, my reply will have to wait. But I did want t write something – how much I enjoy your deep thoughts and sharing the realness of your experiences in this blog. I find myself reading and saying yes, to a lot of things and hence can relate. I also wanted to tell you how I appreciate the time and effort you put into your blog posts, and of course wish you and all your readers here a wonderful festive season and a fresh start again in 2020. all the best to everyone.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      It’s great to hear from you, Krissie, and you’re always welcome to comment on posts at any time, even if a few weeks have passed. Fortunately, I haven’t had as many problems with spam on this blog as on Recovering Shopaholic and I’ve been able to leave comments open indefinitely (I hope that continues to be the case). Thank you so much for your very kind words! I’m so glad you find my posts helpful and relatable. I’m happy to put the time into my posts if I know that they benefit people. I hope to post more often in 2020, but I do the best I can… Have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes to you in 2020!

  9. Jelena Stoiljković says:

    Dear Debbie,

    Thank you for another wonderful post. Your writing means a lot to me, both at Recovering Shopaholic and here at Full Life Reflections. I never comment, but I felt an urge to reach out to you.

    I can relate to many issues you write about, like struggling with mental health for the best part of my life, and other chronic illnesses. I, too, spend most of my day alone at home, an introvert and an INFP… Your writing makes a difference, helping me to accept myself and my life as is, while making progress towards my goals.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope 2020 brings more peace, happiness and good health.

    Warmest regards from cold and rainy Belgrade, Serbia (45N20E), Jelena

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Jelena! I don’t know if I’ve ever received a comment from Serbia before. It warms my heart to know that my writing has touched women around the world. I’m sorry to hear that you have also struggled so much with mental health issues and chronic illness. There are far too many of us, but I’m glad that the Internet can help us feel less alone through it all. I think I have mentioned previously that I have tested as both INFP and INFJ on the Myers-Briggs (I’m on the cusp of the P and the J). There aren’t a whole lot of us, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many of my readers share my type or belong to a similar one. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all the best of everything in 2020! I hope you will comment again sometime.

  10. Gail says:

    Debbie–This post shows how much progress you have made in being yourself, being in control, and understanding what is important. It is my favorite post because it made me feel you are so much happier.You deserve to be because you have made a difference in so many other people’s lives.
    I have no word for the year, but I want to calm down and am working on it. I am trying to make enjoyment a goal instead of knocking myself out doing what I think needs to be done but isn’t really as important as just living, relaxing and appreciating.
    I look forward to continuing to read your writing and to further evolve with you and your readers.
    I recommend the movie “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which features Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, to all of you thoughtful people. I thought of you,Debbie, because it shows how one person can make a huge difference.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I saw that movie last week, Gail, and loved it! I’m honored to be placed in the same arena as Mr. Rogers. I was a huge fan of his as a kid and I know he made a big difference in many people’s lives. If I can make even a small fraction as large of a contribution as he did, I will be very happy. I always appreciate the kind praise you give me, as well as all of your encouragement. I love that you are placing enjoyment first and foremost for the coming year instead of always being so focused on goal achievement. Maybe “enjoyment” should be your word for 2020, or maybe “appreciation.” Of course, you don’t need to select a word, but I have found that it helps me to better focus on what I’m looking for create/generate for myself. Best wishes on living and appreciating more. I need to do more of that myself!

  11. Naomi says:

    Loved this post. ‘Enough’ is good. My word is ‘grateful’. I know that ‘gratitude’ is a word regularly used these days…. but along the theme of being grateful for what I do have (living in a western, first world country: UK most of us live in comfort and abundance) – I find the word ‘grateful’ helps whenever I’m feeling down, angry, anxious, stressed. I have various ailments (mostly niggles due to aging) and even on waking various bits of me hurt or don’t work like they used to, but I immediately switch my perspective to: OK, but what is still working/good? What am I grateful for? And there is always something. Usually lots of things really. The strategy works for everything: what is in my wardrobe that I’m grateful for? what is in the food cupboard/fridge that I’m grateful for? Family, pets, co-workers -even actually having a job (although I don’t like this one much) I’m grateful to currently be employed. I think re-tuning your vibration from one of focusing on negativity to positivity and gratitude is going to help this year.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing your word, Naomi, as well as you reasons for selecting it. I can see how “grateful” could be more powerful than “gratitude,” which is the more commonplace word these days. I love how you’re switching your focus to “What is still working?” in relation to the various aspects of your life. You’re right that what we focus on is so important in terms of how we feel about ourselves and our lives, and most of us have a lot more blessings than negative aspects of our lives. I wish you all the best with your year of grateful and I hope you will check in periodically to let us all know how you’re doing!

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