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2023 Word of the Year

Goodness where do I start?

I used to blog like my life depended on it, and for all of those years, I chose a word for the year, starting way back in 2011. Last year I didn't choose a word, or if I did I don't remember what it was and I didn't document it in any way.

Life has been so weird, friends.

I have been moving through this strange liminal space that just seems to keep going until I figure out if I'm going to be OK with it or not. Jury is still out on that one.

Almost everything changed in 2020 for me and I am still piecing it all back together. Looking for that "new normal" everyone talks about. I've decided at this point there is never going to be a normal, just life as it is, every day and every moment. Living it the best way I can, and constantly searching for the hope, beauty, and silver linings that I am wired to do.

Starting a few weeks ago, I was hit with a renewed sense of excitement and motivation for my art business. I'm pretty sure it coincided with my book arriving in the mail. It takes something big for me to remember who I am sometimes, and what I"m capable of. In a flurry of typing and internet searches, I started submitting my art portfolio to companies again. I started a list of ideas for new products for 2023, and sent out a survey to my email friends to see what they would like to see more of from me in the new year. And I started thinking about choosing a word for '23.

My word for 2020 was MANIFESTING and holy cow that one took on a life of its own. I was honestly scared to choose a word after that whole mess of a year. In 2021, I chose REMEMBER, so that I could focus on remembering who I am and that I am loved and I matter. My self esteem and ego had taken big hits, and my identity was floating in pieces all over the place. I wanted and needed to feel grounded again.

And then there was the blur of last year. I made it through, and miraculously had some major bucket list moments with my art. I wrote and illustrated a book, designed paper crafting products, and started designing stamps for a company that had been on my bucket list for years. And at the same time, we sent our boys back to school...their first year of high school. And the fall was excruciatingly hard on all of us. I knew 14 was a hard age, but BOY. 14 is a HARD age made even harder by a pandemic. We are making our way through as gently and intentionally as we can.

And now, it is 2023. And I feel both energized and depleted. It is quite the combo. But I am learning to expect these dichotomies from life now and learning to hold myself gently in the space between. In many ways, I feel like I'm returning to the spot I was in early March 2020 when I was thriving. My art business was growing. I was teaching in person classes and loving it. i had moved into a 4 day work week at my day job and had every Friday off to focus on growing Mandy Ford Art & Illustration. I felt confident and in charge. And then, well, you know.

In my mind I'm picturing a huge canyon between that time and now, and I had to walk a very scary tight rope between to get to the other side. But I made it and I'm coming back to myself.

You know in action movies how there will be some kind of explosion and the hero will come walking out of the smoke victoriously? That's how I picture myself, except I'm carrying my iPad and coffee mug, and wearing leggings and a hoodie. And I'm definitely not unscathed. And there's a good chance I'm crying. Like the INFJ, enneagram 4, artist version of a superhero. Ha! Totally more relatable right?

So with all of that said, I chose a word that feels absolutely perfect for this time of my life.

EMERGE is my word for 2023.

I am emerging from the fog of the past two years. I am reclaiming my gifts and my power. I am focusing on what I am capable of and owning the possibilities ahead. YES, YES, YES!

It is a weird yet empowering place to be, when you feel a bit more like your old self but you have changed immeasurably since you were that person. I'm taking back the best parts and leaving the rest of the shit behind.

I'm walking alongside, hand in hand, with every past and present version of me, and we're all looking forward in anticipation to what and who we are becoming.

What a wild ride. I still don't like the white knuckle parts when things come zooming quickly at me, but after all this time, I know I can make it through if I hold on tight.

Wherever you find yourself as this new year is arriving, I am sending you the reminder that you are exactly where you are meant to be, and you can achieve the things that your soul is holding safe for you until you are ready.

If you need help finding your word for the year, I've created a FREE mini course for you! You can download it here.

And if you have already chosen your word and would like me to create a one-of-a-kind illustration for you, you can order one here.

if you are more about intention setting, you can take my course, My Intentional Year, here!

Just for fun, here is a list of my past words of the year:

2021 - remember

2020 - manifesting

2019 - and

2018 - balance

2017 - magic

2016 - renew

2015 - leap

2014 - become

2013 - grow

2012 - commit

2011 - action

Sending you good energy as you move into 2023!


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