Yes, I am late. I typically post my word of the year in early January. In the past I have chosen the following words: gratitude and compassion. Last year I chose mindful. As a part of my quest to feel present in my moments, I made a commitment to meditate daily. The collateral benefit from my meditation practice led me to my 2019 word – focus.

Merriam Webster defines focus as “directed attention.” I often reevaluate where my gaze lands. For the last decade, Annie Dillard’s words vibrate in my mind, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.”

In midlife, focus hedges not on want, but necessity. The luxury of wasting time is not a palatable pursuit. Focus is paring down to what matters the most. No to what isn’t working. No to activities that are unfulfilling. It allows me to pay attention to what is important, which these days means filling my days with reflection on the goals I’ve set for myself. The urgency is heightened. This is the truth.

I hope to update this space with my progress.

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