Monday, January 9, 2012

One Word Resolution

I’ve been eating the jelly beans Santa delivered to my stocking and thinking about the one word resolution trend that’s making its way through some of my internet circles of friends. Instead of making a list of things to accomplish (and possibly neglect, forget, or fail), the idea is to choose one word to which you want to aspire, one word that becomes a guide for the year. Some participants write about how this helps them focus on becoming the person God wants them to be. Others write about how determining the type of person they want to be helps them understand what they have to do in order to become that person. Some, I think, overanalyze the activity.

Yet the idea of applying one word to my daily comings and goings is intriguing.

When J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series first hit the book shelves in the summer of 1997, my kids were just as enthralled with Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans as they were with the storyline. Few lines brought more memorable responses from my elementary-aged boys as Dumbledore’s (Harry’s professor) comment about the unfortunate incident he had in his youth when he came across a vomit-flavored bean or Ron’s (Harry’s friend) warning to be careful because one could be spinach, liver, or bogey flavored.

These jelly beans have unique flavors, yes, but what is it that makes them different from others?  The company's website says: 
“Our jelly beans differ from ordinary jelly beans because of their authentic and intense flavors, the number of flavors, the smaller size, the brilliant colors and, of course, our name on every bean. Developed for the sophisticated palate, most of our flavors use fine natural ingredients, whenever possible, to flavor the beans, i.e., chocolate, coconut, fruit juice concentrates and fruit purees like strawberry, pear and banana. These "true-to-life" flavors are mixed into the center and the shell.”
And there it was, in the company’s promotional verbiage -- my word for 2012.
True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. 
                                                                                            (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I’m in my final years of being known primarily as my kids’ mom. One is already in college. The other two are earning driver’s licenses, monitoring their own schedules, and venturing farther out the door. It’s time to re-discover my self and put one foot in front of the other to actually develop that self.

I’ve watched several of my mom friends re-discover themselves as their children have reached the high school and college years, and I’ve been surprised by some of what I’ve seen. Not necessarily that they started exploring the interests and skills that they’d pushed to the back of the closet, but the way they started wearing them. There’s a bounce to their step. They’re more confident, and they smile more often.

They’ve discovered their authentic flavors.

My package of 49 assorted flavored jelly beans encourages me to experience flavors in new and unexpected ways. Some of the flavor combinations are like a burst of fireworks but others, like J.K. Rowling’s Bertie Botts beans, include a risk with every mouthful.

Being authentic in my daily comings and goings is sure to be a bit of both.