So, earlier this month, I chose a One Little Word for 2014. I chose MARGIN, because that’s what I sense I need most this year, a chance to make some space in my days and in my heart to have a little extra room for the unexpected and the unplanned and the hoped for and the wonderful things that come when you have a buffer around you.
I spent some time stitching up a little something to hang on the wall, a visual reminder of the space I’m craving. At first, I figured I’d just slap the word on some Aida cloth, and that would be that. But then the idea of margin called to mind the margin of a sheet of paper, and what’s more iconic than notebook paper, that signifier of every year we all spent in school? Back in the days when we had discretionary time out the wahzoo and totally didn’t appreciate what we had. Ah, youth.
And then I discovered a quote from Henry David Thoreau, who himself sought great margin, on the shores of an isolated lake, where he knew beans and studied ants.
Something about this really struck me, these words: the idea of Thoreau sitting on his doorstep, considering the hours and days stretching ahead of him, and realizing how it was that very stretch of time that he most valued. Now, I totally get that Thoreau was in a social and economic position to leave his life and head out into the woods and ruminate on ants and beans ad nauseum–the original First World Problem guy. I also get that he understood something almost 200 years ago that meets me where I am right now, and I’m grateful for the words he left behind for us to find.
Along the same lines, I thought it might help keep me focused and make the whole process of even choosing a word more meaningful and lasting to maybe check in a little bit each month, to record what I’ve noticed and remembered about these days of trying to look for margin and make room for margin and to allow my hopes that I didn’t know I was hoping to be met in the margins.
This is the first of those, right here at the end of the first month of 2014. We’re 1/12th of the way through this year, people–and ain’t much point to pacing ourselves as we move through the calendar if we aren’t going to remember it when we look back later.
What about you? Did you choose a word? What are you doing to keep it present in your mind and your days this year?