2016 Word of The Year: Authentic

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Happy 2016! When I was writing my goals for this year and deciding on a single word to inspire and remind me, I didn't have to think very hard about it. It's a word that I've aspired to for several years but I've never actually "said it out loud" to anyone else. My 2016 word of the year is


I don't often share much about my personal life here on the blog. This is because I don't ever want my family and friends to feel that everything that we say or do will become a story on the blog. As you've probably figured out by now, I have a healthy respect for privacy and that won't change but today I wanted to share a little bit about how my choice of word came about this year.

On November 18, 2105, I lost a dear and lifelong friend to a sudden illness.  He was the guy who was my very first love way back in high school and we became lifelong friends. Over the years, we talked about everything...and nothing at all but one thing that he said to me often, (usually immediately after apologizing for breaking my eighteen year old heart) was, "You are one of the most genuine and authentic people I have ever known." I'll admit that never really paid much attention to those words or the magnitude of the compliment that they were intended to be until I was sitting in church on the weekend after Thanksgiving at his funeral.

As I listened to his best friend eulogize this man that I had known for over forty years I sat there in disbelief that I wouldn't be seeing my friend for a cup of coffee over Thanksgiving or meeting for lunch at Christmas,  it dawned on me that it was him who was my best example of what it was like to "live authentic" and that it's his particular version of authentic that I aspire to.

JB's authentic never meant "perfect". It meant acknowledging that life sometimes has struggles and regrets mixed in with the successes and celebrations. This authentic means being honest, and genuine, and truthful...even when life is difficult. This authentic is one of integrity and vulnerability and transparency. It means being fearless in your authenticity because you have faith in the power of being true to yourself.

His family asked that each of us who knew him find a way to "pay it forward" in his honor. While I've done and will continue to do some things privately, I've decided that my pubic way to  honor of my friend is rededicate myself to being my authentic self.

This year more than ever, I'm doing my best to let go of comparisons and the notion of who or what anyone else thinks I should be and to simply be who I am. I hope that you won't really notice much of a change on the blog because I choose to believe that my friend was right about me and that I'm already doing a pretty good job at being genuine and real.

The one change that you may notice is that I'm going to try very hard to let go of my fear of "measuring up" and I'll be sharing photos of the "not so glamorous" side of living through renovation  along with the (fingers crossed) photos of clean and decorated space later in 2016. No matter what, I promise that I'll be keeping it real.

So, as 2016 begins, I wanted to say thank you again for sharing this journey with me. I'm optimistic that this year will be filled with new adventures, old friends (and new ones too) and at least a little bit of magic. 
In college, my friend had a favorite song lyric that I was reminded of recently; I think that it's a fitting way for me to begin this new year.

  "And I thank the Lord for the people I have found.  I thank the Lord for the people I have found."
                                                                                                                                      ~Elton John

Happy 2016 and thanks for reading!