My Year of Contemplation

My refined Retirement Lifestyle Vision Statement is a series of 4 words:

Active. Connected. Creative. Contemplative.

Early on 2019, I knew it was going to be my year of contemplation.

I had worked on building a more active lifestyle with yoga, zumba, regular walking in Cincinnati, adding in biking in Florida. Being active needs to be maintained (and yes, probably boosted), but there is a habit established. I immediately looked for a Zumba replacement when my teacher decided to stop her classes.

I had intentionally worked on building connections – both on-line with blogging and IRL. Here again, I have established a habit of reaching out and connecting and planning activities with friends. I no longer feel a need to be so intentional about it by tracking my 10 connections per month.

But creative and contemplative were both still more about my vision, not an established habit. I was leaning into learning to Be (versus always doing), and my 2019 vision board had a large area about spirituality. So this year I felt drawn to contemplate, to explore my personal spirituality, and to focus on personal growth.

This year’s focus on contemplation has certainly blossomed my deep thinking skill!

Besides reading a number of books on healthy aging and personal growth, I engaged in a number of inspirational meditation series with the Chopra Center (link here).  I also continued my daily journaling, my weekly yoga practice, regular blog reading, and even went to a Yoga Wellness Retreat. I spent time exploring memoir, looking at old journals and photos. Fourteen of this year’s blog posts were a direct result of contemplation activities!

I do believe I am becoming more aware – living more in the moment with less regret about the past (if only thinking) or worry about the future (scenarios what if’s). I’m not perfect here, but I am better!

I have definitely learned to slow down and appreciate un-busy moments. I am still a planner and have embraced my enjoyment of trying new things, versus an expectation to “master” some “passion area”.   This duality of doing and being might sound contradictory, but it has definitely settled into a life rhythm for me.

This focus on contemplation resulted in an acceleration of our life plan as I came to a stronger realization that we are not promised tomorrow. A 10-year plan has shifted to a two-year plan. And I do believe that I have a better knowledge of who I am without my career/work identity.

There are many areas of personal growth I am continuing to work on:

  • Actively working to understand my limiting beliefs and unresolved resentments – move them into being released or resolved.
  • Improve my practice of gratitude with a more focused gratitude journaling habit.
  • Achieve a higher self-acceptance. This includes stopping the Compare & Despair, releasing my need for external validation, and stopping the perception of expectations even when they are not there.
  • I still need to work on accepting my body, spending more time outdoors (awareness of my love of hiking from years ago), and blossoming my creativity.

This year of contemplation has set me up for a series of activities for growth in 2020. And hopefully, Contemplative will join Active and Connected as habitual. And then I’ll tackle Creative next!

Picture Credit: Canva

19 thoughts on “My Year of Contemplation

    1. Bethany, It’s always nice to know I’m not the only one dealing with these challenges! My WOTY next year I believe is going to focus on some of this…. will be writing about in weeks to come.

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  1. I’m still trying to decide if I want a word of the year in 2020. I feel like I need something to guide me. I’ve been somewhat aimless for the last three months, or so it seems. I’m probably the only one who’s aware of it. I am also a planner but even that’s been difficult for me lately. I do appreciate being over doing, but I can’t stop doing entirely. I do need my creative outlets because they provide me with a sense of peace and accomplishment. I’ll keep thinking about that word. I think you had a good 2019 and I wish you the best for 2020!!

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  2. Hello Pat! Nice work on making being active and connected habits. Being active has become habit for me as well, and I love it. Connected is a little more of a conscious effort, but I’m doing it. Finding that balance between thinking and being is constant for me. I have gotten better, but I can’t say being present in the moment is anywhere near a habit. I wish you a wonderful, creative 2020, where ever it takes you! #MLSTL

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    1. Christie, thank you. Staying present and being non-judgmental is still a big challenge for me as well. I think being aware of what I’m doing, in the moment, is where I’m getting to. It’s a start. I’m also not sure I’m coming to creative quite yet…. as I’ve searched for my focus in 2020, I think contemplation will still be it. But that’s OK… maybe some creativity will begin to surface as well.

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  3. Sounds like your made your Vision Board items come true! That’s what it’s all about, action. I haven’t been to a Zumba class yet, but I do hear that it’s fun. I do love a good yoga retreat, though.

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    1. This was my first yoga retreat and I would do another, for sure. But now, I’m thinking of what my 2020 goals need to be! If you ever have a chance to do Zumba, please try it — it is super fun!

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  4. Hi Pat – I’m also finding that balance between being and doing. I’ve decided that I like who I am and I don’t want to turn that off completely to become a navel contemplating yogi, but I do want to take the pressure off myself and allow a sense of peace and calm to be the foundation I operate from.
    I’m so glad you’re finding areas to grow and develop in and that you can see progress as the year’s progressed. I’m really looking forward to 2020 and seeing what it holds for all of us. xx
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM ☺️

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  5. I’ve never done Zumba (but I do see men in the classes). What I’ve noticed over the years from watching the classes in the gyms I’ve gone to that have them is that nearly everyone is always smiling and laughing during the course of their entire workout. It seems like such a wonderful way to get exercise. – Marty

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    1. Marty, It is a lot of fun. One of my instructors a few years ago was a guy. I will look for another class, but like all instructor led things, you need to find a person you click with. Right now I’m trying Orange Theory. Not as much fun, but I’m burning calories and building muscle for sure!

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  6. Read quickly trying to catch up on my favorite bloggers, but this deserves a re-read in a day or two! It is where I want my life to be going… You’ve inspired me to make some changes, but I’m not sure anything will come of it because, well, I’m such an AGMA! We’ll see what 2020 brings. Thanks for sharing your wonderful, intentional journey!

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  7. I feel as though I am on a similar contemplative journey to the one you describe but why oh why didn’t we embark on it in our teens? I may not have achieved as much ( although who knows because, armed with the power of living in the present, maybe I could have done more) but life would certainly have been less stressful.

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    1. I’m not sure my teenage self would have been able to process any of this. I’m not even sure this type of thinking was around then – it was the 70’s for me – still the era of going to college to get your Mrs degree – that was my guidance counselor ‘s advice, for sure. Ah well. I’m not sure my middle age self is doing it that greatly! But, I have read in a number of places that this is the time of life when we are ready to do this deep contemplation. So I’m continuing to work through it all.

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