one word : : checking in {september twenty-two}

If you wrote a post for this month’s check-in, I invite you to join the One Word party, share in Comments below, or reflect on your own. Whatever works! The link will be live all week, through Sunday.

C’mon in.

I’m glad to be back in this space, connecting, again, with readers and bloggers and my self. It’s been a good (long!) break. I’m hearing my favorite Avett Brothers song in my head right now. They’re lyrics I’ve shared before:

Yeah I’m rested and I’m ready
I’m rested and I’m ready
To begin.

Not necessarily rested-rested; sleep’s been a bit light for me. But I’m feeling closer to center than I was a few weeks, a month, ago.

Which counts for a lot.

A lot!

It means my pendulum is swinging back. I feel more like me again.


For anyone new around here, My One Word ’22 is Engage. Over time, I’ve learned I get more from my word of the year when I consider it in a different light each month. (Which is how My One Word Prompts were born.)

This month, I charged myself with:

: : go narrow + deep

: : embrace ‘creative neglect’

: : ask what matters most?

In order to do that, I embraced my word’s opposite. I call it ‘my unword’–versus ‘my one word’…hear that fun wordplay? (More on the unword here.)

Often–not always, but often, like with Thrive (’17) and Authentic (’15)–my word’s opposite represented something…undesirable. This year, though, its been nothing short of critical.

I disengaged in lots of ways in September in order to deeply engage in ways that matter most to me.

As I said in my last (long ago!) post, I adopted + adapted Oliver Burkeman’s concept of creative neglect and let go of the ‘lesser things’ (i.e., everything else) in order to prioritize, as he says, ‘…no more than three items.’

Handy. I have three kids…

It’s been some time since I’ve put all else on hold indefinitely in order to parent, but big transitions at delicate stages meant just that. We’re fortunate, downright privileged, I know, to be two parents able and capable of doing that. To, as a team, put our resources into what matters most–while keeping the other end of our ship [pretty much] afloat. It was not lost on me, over the course of the month, how easily families fall away, fall apart, because they are spread impossibly thin…with just one parent and not enough help…or too many jobs…or lacking the skills, cooperation, money, bandwidth, physical or mental health.

Cripes. It’s taxing under the best of circumstances.

While respecting privacy, I can say we’ve talked and listened a lot; settled much more into home + school; established healthier boundaries around phones; we’re setting Sundays aside for the four of us; and thanks to melatonin, we’ve finally adjusted to Eastern Standard Time for sleeping and waking. (You wouldn’t think it’d be so hard! But we were seriously stuck, and shifting has made a big difference.)

So we’re doing better. A lot better. We’ve learned some things. And we’ll keep learning. This month has served us well, and I’m grateful we’re back on even ground.

I’ll leave it at that.

Surely I’d have come to this place–of pausing + prioritizing–regardless of my One Word practice.


There’s something about One Word that…underscores…how I live. To use navel-gazing jargon, it fosters intentionality. Provides a lens for examining.

Basically? It helps me be me.

In choosing One Word, I’m more likely to participate–versus let life happen to me.

Last Thursday…my brother’s birthday! He’s 6 months post-treatment, BTW ♥…was the fall equinox. I wrapped up my short Summer Dreams List, put together a slightly longer fall version, and, in passing, glimpsed my Engage mind map.

I haven’t looked that over since we moved, and my first thought was a judgy one: I haven’t done enough. With my word, with my self, with everything.

Back in January, I may have anticipated a deep-dive year, coming up with a crazy-cut gem of myself–think amethyst geode–a study in complexity and direction and all kinds of interesting angles. Don’t I want to be proficient, again, on a musical instrument? Keep my momentum from Talking About Talking About Race as I join Braver Angels? Hone some handwork skills? Take a creative risk? Or two?

At a glance, I couldn’t find myself on that January mind map.

But then I re-read this post–and looked closer.

And I realized this month I actually nailed Engage.

If I only look at September…and at my three dear kids…if this is all I did or do with Engage ’22 (and it’s not. but if it was.), I can say I’ve done it well.

Take a breath.
Begin again.


7 thoughts on “one word : : checking in {september twenty-two}

Add yours

  1. Exactly. You engaged the here and now, which was your family, and bringing up children is to my mind the most important job in the world. And if that means disengaginng with other stuff to concentrate on priorities well done you. A truly inspirational post.


  2. Whew, what a month you had! As I read this, it occurred to me that you all are having delayed reaction to the major change you all had in your big move. Delayed because you started out sort of normally as you do ever summer… heading back to do things you do every summer (with a few hiccups thrown in) so it comes as no surprise that you all were struggling as September rolled around when the real change reared its head. Bravo to you for stepping back and engaging in what truly matters in life!

    And I thought of this when I read your Begin Again ending… your almost October Self is much wiser than your January Self… I think you will find engaging as the year winds down to be delightful! XO


  3. I can’t think of a more important form of engagement than that with your children and your family. I suspect that, as Kat noted, you’ve had a delayed reaction to the move. Your lives were so filled with all the physical and logistical aspects of the move at the beginning, but once that was over, you really needed to dig into the emotional work. I am glad to hear that time has been well spent and that you’ve all at least started the process of adjusting to your new environment.


  4. I LOVE the idea of going deep. It might be too intense to do for a whole year, but it seems as though it was rejuvenating and refreshing to do for a month. I’m so glad that you felt as though it was helpful to disengage a bit and FOCUS. What a lovely post!


  5. Moving . . . is so hard. And sometimes in the most surprising ways. I’m glad you’re feeling (gradually) more settled. May the school year and the new season bring stability and security to you and your family. XO


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