My Word of the Year

My Word of the Year

Coming up with my word of the year, a focus word for the year 2019, was a big challenge. In 2018, my word (phrase) was Be Brave. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t fully embrace Be Brave. It was time for some soul searching…

…Life became overwhelming. I sorta stopped most everything that wasn’t required of me for a bit. Just stopped. I lost sight of last year’s word of the year and shifted into autopilot.

Juggling at Year-End 

I took a few months off from two of my side-gigs to rest and regroup. I stopped participating in anything that wasn’t necessary for me and my spirit. A new year can be a fresh start. I had to figure out what I needed to do. 

Read about my Do-Over…

I have a few side gigs that include direct sales and being a virtual assistant. I work all three part-time while working a full-time job in the retail industry, (which quite honestly, kicks my ass most days.)  

The VA work I do is a 10-15 hour a week gig. Add to that my da-job and other businesses, and that balance thing gets tricky. The balls fell toward the end of 2018, and to be honest? It was nice to take a break.


I learned in August of 2018 that I had let my driver’s license lapse. I’d had a little fender bender and the nice policeman told me about it (and didn’t arrest me.) Four frustrating months later I had what I needed to renew. A stupid accident threw me into a tailspin, and the whole thing was kind of the final straw for me.  Seriously.  Who forgets to renew their driver’s license? Look for more on this in a future blog post. 

Click here to read about the driver’s license fiasco.

Friday, January 11, 2019, marked the three year anniversary of my fall from the ladder. If you don’t know the story, I fell from the top of a six-foot ladder, bounced off some metal shelving, and landed on the cement floor of my garage. My head literally fell 11 feet. ELEVEN. FEET.  Miraculously, I was able to get up off the floor and seek help.

I spent a good two years recovering…learning a new normal. My doc says that I’m still recovering, which I can’t wrap my head around. No pun intended.  I’ll write about that one day too. It’s quite a story. 

Life Can Change in a Moment

If you touch my head in the right place, you can feel the now healed skull fracture. It’s a great party game.

I am still afraid to put my head directly on a pillow and I still sleep at an incline with a pillow behind my neck to protect that spot from touching anything. I feel the tingling in that area now and then. I’m told it’s the blood flowing through the uneven area under my skull.

I have days when I rule the world and days where I have to do one thing at a time, slowly and forget about large crowds or too much happening around me. That pretty much brings me to a screeching halt.

I named the sensation in my head Herman. When the weirdness happens, I know it’s going to be a hard day. That damn Herman, messing with my head. 

I struggle with how things are now versus how things used to be. It’s difficult to describe, as the “changes” appear somewhat subtle on the outside looking in. 

The Things I Lost

You can’t see that I can no longer tolerate my beloved spicy food. There is absolutely no medical reason for that. My doctor says it’s a coincidence. My body no longer tolerates hot peppers, sriracha, and any form of heavy, spicy, hot goodness. I miss it. 

You don’t really notice my inability to multitask as I used to. Sometimes I ask someone to hold a thought while I try to finish something I can’t focus on. Other times you may see me staring at nothing, trying to complete my thought.

I still lose my words, but not as often as I used to. To counter this I keep a lot of notes in notepads, scratch paper and an online to-do list program I found. It’s a system that works for me. 

Most importantly I think, I lost my confidence and I haven’t regained it. I’m not quite the same person I used to be. That bothers me. A lot.

The “Other” Family

2016 also brought the passing of the parental units. I still hold much anger and resentment where they are concerned, though I don’t yell at them as often as I did. The mother’s passing was pure selfishness. The acts of other certain family members, unforgivable. You see, illness and death bring out the worst in some people. 

I try not to let the anger surface too much. I have anger for myself and my brother. I’m thankful we both have people in our lives to help fill that void a bit.

I’ve recently learned a bit about my “other family” who I was never allowed to know. You see, the mother married at 18, had me at 19, divorced at 20 and remarried at 21.  That one lasted about 47 years and he adopted me when I was two.

I have learned how the parents went to extremes to ensure no contact, and what I call the miracle of them pulling it off the biggest hoax of all: the biological father lived less than seven miles away for most of my childhood. I never knew.

That man was the best-kept secret in our little community. I continue to be amazed that no one ever revealed the truth to me.  I believe they were terrified of the wrath of the mother. She was someone to fear.


This was mostly the mother’s doing, this great cover-up. Choices were made, lives manipulated, lies told. I truly wish I’d known the truth of it decades sooner. I was blind to this for most of my life. That makes me angry. All I can do now is yell at them when I’m in the shower or in my car driving, and keep moving forward.

I recently saw a photo of the grandparents I don’t remember holding me as a baby, the bio father I never knew in the background. It took the wind out of my sails. The people I had heard about were real. 

They didn’t look like the monsters I was told they were (over and over and over.) It didn’t appear that they were people to fear. They were human beings who were also hurt in the crazy, zany world of the mother. It’s a tough pill to swallow. On the flip side, I have a wonderful aunt who answers my questions. She never speaks an unkind word about the wacky cast of characters. She’s helped me fill in many blanks. Maybe one day I will meet more of them. Maybe not.  I’m not sure.

Settling on My Word of the Year

It’s time to be done with all that. It’s time to work my word of the year.

I need to develop a plan, decide what I want out of my businesses and choose a path that I can grow with. Get that balance back. Grow my confidence. Disassemble what’s not working and rebuild. This means making changes, moving on, claiming my word of the years, focusing and maybe taking on something new.

I have decided I need to build a business strategy this year and work it. There’s great potential there if I can simply get past all of THAT.

Where will it all lead? I don’t know.

Will I still have three side gigs this time next year? No idea. I’m totally open to finding out.

My Word of the Year 2019 Metanoia, the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self, or way of life.

What did I choose?

My word of the years is Metanoia: “The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.” 

It’s a word I stumbled upon a few years back. I’ve kept it tucked away, and after weeks of struggling to find the right word or phrase, I stumbled upon it again. It jumped up and said, “Hey! I’m your word!”

It’s fitting. I need to be consistent, find balance, be brave. Focusing on my word of the year will help the other things fall into place and my path will begin to come into focus. 

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Penny, blogger at, signature