A State of Curiosity
I’ve decided on my word for 2021.
Last year was really hard for everyone and I was not immune to the stress that blanketed our world in 2020. All through the year I tried so hard to stay productive and have some kind of normalcy for most of the year. Unsurprisingly, this led to burn-out in my job and it quickly spilled over into my life with my family. I was tired, cranky, sad, and anxious almost every day. It was exhausting! I dreaded the coming late fall and winter because every year I find it hard to keep my head above water during those months.
I’m a summer baby and summer is definitely my jam. Scorching hot weather will never get old for me and being robbed of sunlight has historically found me in tears waiting for the return of spring. Knowing what was coming made me stop everything that I was doing and re-evaluate what I had been doing in order to get ahead of the sadness that the colder seasons bring to me. I did what I do best, I read, I listened, I made lots of lists about myself and my life. I went back to my writings from the warm months and reviewed what I was learning about myself and my growth then. I found a pattern there. I saw it begin early in February and grow strong up until my present.
The pattern was that when things got hard and I was stressed, I changed my mindset to curiosity. I started asking questions instead of trying to fix things and rearrange everything while not actually letting go of anything. I saw that curiosity never led me astray and that I was finding my best self in my moments of curiosity. There had been lots of times over the past year when I thought of the gift of curiosity and how it had brought me to so many new and exciting experiences in my life but I wasn’t intentionally living in curiosity like I could be doing.
Days of self-reflection, gratitude for all that I’ve been through, thankfulness for all that I have, and an excitement for what is to come, I decided that curiosity has been consistently my failsafe. Curiosity has been the answer when I was frustrated or scared. My ability to stay curious has made me the person that my friends and family love and enjoy and the person that my clients trust and allow to share their space. Curiosity is at the core of who I am.
Today, I woke up excited for all that is to come for me in 2021. I decided that I had spent too much time focusing on accomplishing without celebration (a personal struggle for me) and I had not found the joy that I could have in just being curious as I move through the world. In that moment I decided that curiosity would be my word of the year. Even before the New Year, I made a point to wait on setting intentions and goals for the year. I knew that they would come to me in their own time and it would feel good, not forced like I was having to come up with a list on the spot at 12:01 on New Years. Surprise, surprise! It worked. This feels good and natural and exciting. It also feels a little scary, which is something that is important to me in knowing that I am about to do big things.
Spoiler, I rearranged a lot in my life but this time I let go of a lot of stuff too. I let go of the idea that working myself to the point of burnout means that I’m important. What it really means is that I’m not doing what’s right for me. I let go of what it looked like I was doing as a clinician and followed my heart and my curious nature. Then, something magical happened, I felt better, I did better, I enjoyed life, and I learned. I grew as a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, a clinician, as a person. I grew and I found parts of myself that I hadn’t known before. This was only possible because I let myself be curious in the world.
I’m not going to tell you that all of this is something that will work for everyone. I do believe that a little curiosity can grow us a long way as humans, but I know that to be curious, truly curious, we must be ready. It can be scary and tedious to be curious instead of judging or knowing. All of us will not always be in a place to allow curiosity to lead the way. I do think that there is no better time than now to begin to consider curiosity a core value in who we are. Just like kindness, loyalty, and courage; curiosity is important and grows us mind, body, and spirit. But it’s not always something you can dip your toes in. Dabbling in curiosity can lead to a life of wonder, consider this your warning! Curiosity will change you!
2021, the year of embracing my curious nature and allowing my gift to move forward with intentions. A year of new experiences and firsts. A year of letting myself just be. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.
To learn more about assessing and evaluating your life, look up Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness Project. Core values and living according to your values as well as self-inventory are inspired by Dr. Brene Brown’s books and work on vulnerability. As for inspiration about finding your purpose in life, Dr. Tara Swart’s book The Source is an excellent place to begin.
Click here to learn more about Gretchen Rubin’s work.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Brene Brown’s work.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Tara Swart’s work.