Phrase of the year

This is a straight lift. A hold up. A robbery.

Yep…. Hands up.

Blogging buddy Marla Jayne makes it a habit to pick a word of the year, a word that embodies and defines all of her resolutions, and I’m going to steal the idea. I actually stole it a few years ago, but I’m confessing now. The only real difference is that I like phrases more than words. I can ask a relevant question with a phrase or have a statement of believe or value that, for me, works a little better than a word.

So this year’s phrase:

Would I want that anyway?

I actually adopted this one a few months ago because I realized I had a problem setting priorities, feeling left behind by the progress of others (read: jealousy), and a general lack of direction in what I wanted from life. I would find myself tugged by the events of the world instead of determining for myself how I would act regardless of the world.

I found that it was helpful to sit back and ask myself if I would really want the progress another was seeing, if I really wanted that specific priority or goal, or if the direction I was going was the direction I really wanted to go.

And it helps.

A good example for me is a friend at work who is rapidly accomplishing many goals, goals I’ve had for myself for a long time. At first, I felt a terrible soul-numbing jealousy for his growth and progress, such that I found it difficult to express the joy a friend can feel for another friend’s happiness. And that’s a problem (duh). So instead of focusing on his growth and achievement, I shifted to trying to see how that kind of change would impact my life.

The results were actually somewhat startling in what they revealed.

Yes, he is on the fast track. Yes, he’ll make tons more money than I will. Yes, the recognition he gets is enormous compared to me. And yes, the projects he works on appear infinitely better and more valuable than mine.


I come in to work and go home on my own schedule. I am relatively stress free. I make enough to meet my needs. I don’t work nights, and I don’t work weekends. I don’t get urgent calls from work with urgent assignments. I take a vacation and I go on vacation. Everyone at work knows it is utterly pointless to try to contact Dave when he’s on vacation. I don’t respond. 🙂

Now that’s not to say that my friend isn’t happy or that he isn’t handing his life and priorities correctly for him. I’m sure he is because those are his choices to decide. Not mine. But as I’ve really asked myself if I’d want that, I have to come to the conclusion that no, I wouldn’t.

I see others with fantastic hobbies, incredible trips, nice cars, and huge houses. I’m a beekeeper! You can keep your hobbies: mine is way cooler and sweeter. 🙂

I don’t really care for huge vacations. I’m glad you like yours, but it’s not for me.

I like cool cars. I would like to own a Mercedes some day (I’ve loved them since we lived in Germany), but I simply cannot abide debt and a car payment. So congratulations, but my 10-year-old station wagon is paid for and runs great.

Oh do I want a larger house. BUT… I love my house. I love that it is mine and that we’ve taken it from the ghetto wreck it was when we bought it to arguably the nicest home on the block. Courtney said the other day while we were quietly sitting in the living room looking at the roaring fire, “I feel like we’re restoring the spirit of this home, not the home itself.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

It’s helped.

Being able to ask would I want that anyway has helped me choose to really analyze and look at the options around me. More than that, though, the question has helped me recognize the very rich ways that I’ve been blessed. Our human frailty makes it easy to see more in others; less in ourselves. Asking that question puts it all in perspective.

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One Response to Phrase of the year

  1. Sarah L. says:

    It’s totally OK for you to be jealous of me, especially my good looks. ;-D Really, good for you for putting things into perspective! I’m thinking of that scripture about not working for things that moth and rust corrupt. You know what your true treasures are.

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