The Year of Presence

At the beginning of 2013, I chose my One Word for this year: present.

My goal was to be more present in my own life, more engaged in the little moments that matter. I wanted to view those moments, and my part in them, as a gift – or present – for the people I love. I also desired to feel less like my life has to be a presentation, a perfect image. To believe that my life can be a meaningful presence without perfection.

This year, I was present for loss. An unexpected pregnancy, an unexpected miscarriage, a quick few weeks of life, hope, and death.

This year, I was present for change. I found feminism. I saw my own power to create, to grow. I found a new voice. I began to believe that I have worth even when I’m not perfect.

This year, I was present for silence. A summer camping trip. My early mornings. Being baptized in absence and being okay with it. I found great meaning, creativity, and value in silence.

This year, I was present for writing. This was probably my must productive year of writing so far. Because I was present for writing, it changed me. Writing became far more than just putting a book together or submitting essays to journals. Writing showed me who I am, who I’ve been, and who I want to be. Writing was my catharsis and savior in the tough times. Writing healed me when I needed healing.

It was a good year. I still know that there were times I could’ve been more present. I know there were times when I could have been far more kind and patient and loving. I know that there were times I purposely tried to be absent, to escape. I know that I probably failed as many times as I succeeded. But as I said, part of learning to be present was learning that imperfection and occasionally being not-present is okay.

A new year is dawning, and with it will come a new word. I’ll share that one with you in a few days.

What was your one word for 2013 and how has it gone?


  1. This is wonderful, Karissa. I was working on my Mental Health Monday post for tomorrow (on New Year’s Resolutions) when I read this, and it fueled my thoughts. (I’ll link to it in my post.) Can’t wait to see what your “word” for 2014 is. And maybe I’ll join you and have a word…. we’ll see….

  2. Cassie says:

    My word was “thrive,” although I never blogged about it I did mention it on FB. I didn’t just want to survive my year, I wanted to thrive in it. And over all I guess I have, but it’s still hard to do anything but survive in our crazy life. There have been many, many tears of frustration this year. At myself for not bouncing back like I did the first two times (physically and emotionally), at my husband for not “getting” how I need him to help me, and yes at my children- for whining or waiting until I finally sit down to eat to decide they need something.

    So I need to sit down and think about how it all went, because right now I’m not really sure. I guess it says something that if nothing else we survived! 🙂

    • kksorrell says:

      Sometimes I think “thriving” is the same as “surviving hard stuff.” We all survive our lives, day in and day out, but some people’s lives are harder than others. Being constantly needed by 4 little boys with very little support and making it through and having some happy memories IS thriving!! (I get frustrated just from Ephraim saying, “Mommy, can you . . .?” so many times per day. Having FOUR doing that would be rough!)

  3. Molly says:

    I’ve been searching for my word for 2014. The word that spoke to me was “present” but I wasn’t sure about it. I found the #oneword365 website and present wasn’t one of their words. Mindfulness was, but that didn’t speak to me in the same way. Then I stumbled on your blog post this morning. Thank you for confirming my word choice. Here’s to being present in 2014.

    • kksorrell says:

      Molly, thanks for reading!!! I had a wonderful year of being present and I found it to be a great word to help me focus on the year. I am so happy for you and your one word. Happy New Year and may 2014 be a great year of presence for you!

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