My Word For 2019

4 Jan

At the beginning of last year, Rebbie set a goal for me:

I would quit five books I didn’t like in 2019.

The very thought made my skin crawl. Me? Abandon books? I don’t abandon things! I need to read everything to be up on reading everything!

I quit my first book on January 13th.

It was a buzzy book with great reviews, used in higher education classrooms around the country.

It did not resonate with me.

I put it down.

The agony!

The horror!

My word for 2019 was energy.

This sounds very woo-woo hippy-dippy and perhaps it is. I was living in Los Angeles for most of the year, after all.

But energy meant more to me than crystals and auras. 

It meant quitting books. 

Rebbie and I called the quitting of books practicing failure, but looking back I think it was more about energy than failure.

I only have so much energy to go around, why spend it on books I don’t love? 

In the NBA right now, there’s a big conversation around the concept of load management.

The idea is that certain players, particularly superstars, are choosing to sit out of some regular season games not because they are injured or sick, but simply to pace themselves through an 82-game season.

Load management.

It’s been controversial at times. 

But they are paid so much! What about the fans? The tickets?

For a long time I despaired over my energy levels. I saw doctors and specialists, both the physical and mental kinds. Was I fatigued? Was this normal? Is this how everyone feels?

One of the great questions of my life is Is this how everyone feels?

Maybe I’m not depressed, maybe this is called going through life.

But then, after many tests, I was told that nothing was wrong with me. This was just me.

The thing about energy management, load management, is that it’s so very different than time management.

I have spent most of my life attempting to managing my time.

Say I have six hours after work. Well, according to simple math, I could write for three of those, workout for one, clean for another, maybe do some hardcore errands that last hour?

Time managed!

In reality, I have energy for maybe one of those things after work. (And certainly not for three hours of one of those things.)

The agony!

The horror!

In April I spoke with a friend who was moving out of state and beginning a new phase of her life.

I told her about my current situation. I’m kind of in a stasis right now. I’m not on a hero’s journey, I’m at the plateau. Rob and I love our jobs and where we live. No major changes ahead.

And then six months later I was offered a job on Cape Cod and everything flew out the window.

Suddenly energy management, load management, meant simply getting through the day.

Our decision to move to Cape Cod was about energy after all.

Of course it was. I can make meaning out of anything!

It was about future energy levels. About the time when we have kids. How it would be nice to live by family. How working the job I was offered might allow me more energy for that future family, for the writing I’d like to continue to do.

It was about where our energy might go when we weren’t just surviving in an expensive city, but slowing down and investing in a smaller life.  

We made the decision to move across the country, largely, for our future energy.

Our future selves.

I quit 30 books last year.

Once you pop, you can’t stop.


PS: My words for 2018, 2017201620152014, 2013 and 2012

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2 Responses to “My Word For 2019”

  1. Lauren Packer January 23, 2020 at 8:40 am #

    Wait so is your word for 2020 load management?

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