23.1.24

Word for 2024

Back in 2018 I joined in with “Word of the Year” or “Word for the Year”. 
I suppose it’s a bit like a New Years Resolution but instead of picking lots of things to “give up” or “start doing” you pick a word that you will live by that year. 

My previous chosen words were
2018 - Routine….which I then changed to Faith.
2019 - Be
2020 - You
2021 and 2022- Mental health was spiralling down so I didn’t have a word for these two years
2023 - Enlightenment

My 2023 word felt like a bit of a cheat. I use the word “enlightened” to describe 2015 when my life completely changed. Spirituality became a big thing in my life, I started to discover who I am and who I was not, I left my marriage, I got a job and it got me to where I am today. But last year I felt like I was going through that again. It was the year I had to make changes again, to accept who I am, to stick up for myself more, to realise my worth and feel stronger in life.

My word for 2024 also seems like a bit of a cheat because it’s something else I lived by for a while but only really became aware of what a big thing it is for me around October time.
My word is “Authentic”.

I remember the charity dinner in 2022 and meeting someone from the exec board for the first time. We had a conversation about authenticity because I really admired how he is always authentically himself. He gave me the reassurance that I can be the same and show who I truly am, I don’t need to put a mask on or be someone else just to please others.

Something I have really worked on is being authentic and not worrying about what people think of me. It is easier said than done and has taken a lot of work, I’m not fully there yet but I’ve come a long way from where I was.

I cry a lot, I laugh a lot, I take a lot of photos, I have a lot of tattoos, I look a certain way because of my long dark hair, I dress how I want to dress, I like to joke about and not be serious ALL THE TIME, and so often I apologised for all of that. And through therapy I realised that there is nothing to apologise for.
Those things make me me. They do not hurt anyone and if anyone has an issue with those things then it’s on them.

I realised that the only way I am ever going to be truly happy is to be “unapologetically me”. 
If I cry, I’m not sorry. If I laugh a lot at a joke or situation (as long as it’s not inappropriate) then I’m not sorry. If you don’t like my tattoos or my nose piercing, I’m not sorry. If you think my hair should be lighter, I’m not sorry.
I’m definitely not sorry for being 38 years old and still loving In The Night Garden despite the fact my boys are 12 and 14.
Being unapologetically me will also ensure I am surrounded by people who really should be in my life. 
I shouldn't have to justify or defend my choices anymore because of others.
People who accept me for me, even if I am different to them in whatever way.

I started to look at people who I look up to and whose characters I am attracted to. And realised that they all had one thing in common. Being unapologetically themselves.
Jennifer Lawrence being a key example of this. I love how goofy she is, how she takes the mickey out of herself, how she is very openly “THIS IS ME” and doesn’t apologise for it.
Dawn French, Matty Healy (ok, slightly controversial and he has had to apologise a few times), Claudia Winkleman, Jim Carey, Rylan Clarke. I watch and listen to these people and it gives me a boost to know if they can be themselves and be in the public eye then I can be who I am in the small world I’m in. 
So 2024, my year of being fully authentic. Unapologetically me.

Making choices for myself, reducing my people pleasing, not being sorry, accepting who I am and saying “let them” to people who don’t accept me for who I am. No longer wearing a mask and protecting other people and putting them before me.
What would your word be for 2024?




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