Last year I got to do a lot of sailing. In anticipation of a family sailing trip to Maine, my uncle took David and me through sailing 101. Then we spent four days on a schooner, an experience unlike any other I’ve had. One day, the wind kicked up and filled the four sails, driving the schooner through the water until the boat heeled and water rushed through the scuppers on the leeward side. It was exhilarating.
On another sailing trip in the fall, we motored out into the lake, let out the sails, rolled out the spinnaker, and waited several hours in vain for even a puff of breeze to fill them, to no avail.
Some years feel like that schooner rushing through the water, and others more like a sailboat waiting around for the breeze to kick in and blow you somewhere. After feeling like I was drifting in the water with sails out and no wind for several years, 2016 is finally blowing in.
We bought a new house and acreage outside of town, still in lovely Northwest Arkansas. While we contemplate a completely new lifestyle that will likely include farming and livestock, I’m also commuting to work and juggling a handful of other changes on the horizon. It feels a bit like standing on a heeling boat, enjoying the wind, but also trying to keep my footing as the sails fill and the boat picks up speed.
The changes that come with new ideas can be scary, but it’s also exciting. Change provides the best opportunities to grow, even if it seems painful at first. It forces you out of your comfort zone and into new challenges you might not have taken on otherwise. None of this is new wisdom, but when you’re the one experiencing the change, it feels unsettling.
Many people (especially bloggers) choose one word to focus their year around. Last year I chose Story and took the opportunity to share some stories from my distant and not so distant past. I’ll still be throwing random stories out this year, but my word for 2016 is more about continuing my story, growing it, making room for those changes that feel bigger than life.
2016 is all about expanding.
Expand your horizons. That phrase is tossed around so much it’s become cliche, but the sense of it truly applies to this period of time in my life. A new place, a new adventure, which will require (A LOT) of new knowledge. New people who will undoubtedly come into my life this year. None of these replace the old adventures, past experiences, or good friends; they simply enhance it.
There are some great synonyms for the word expand. Bolster. Broaden. Enlarge. Stretch. Unfurl. I love these words and the sense of anticipation that rises in me when I read them. What better way to spend a year than bolstering your sense of adventure, broadening your views, enlarging your ideas, stretching yourself, unfurling your creativity?
Does expanding seem daunting? Absolutely. But it’s time. The best day of sailing last summer was when the wind hit the sails and forced us through the water until I could reach out my hand and touch the waves if I wanted. That’s what 2016 feels like to me.
Hopefully, I’ll manage to stay in the boat for the ride.