I like words. I always pick one or two words at the beginning of the year that help keep me focused and motivated as the year goes forward. As a reminder, my words for 2022 are Mastery and Acceptance.
This weekend, when I did my walkabout, I thought about another word … Renewal. Spring is a time of renewal. The plants are starting to peek their heads up to welcome and thrive in the warmer weather. Walkers and bike riders were out enjoying the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile rails to trails network here in Greenville, SC.
I started my walkabout this weekend at the Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery. The place was hopping (pun intended) with folks enjoying a morning latte and a fresh muffin or scone. These early spring mornings start out cool, but quickly warm up as the sun reaches higher in the sky. With the warming day, the outside tables and benches were full.
The Merriam-Webster definition of renewal is:
To make like new: restore to freshness, vigor or perfection
To regenerate: formed or created again: spiritually reborn
After almost 2-years of Covid isolation, I could feel the rebirth of coming together with friends, hearing the laughter and seeing the smiles of folks that were finally able to enjoy the day without fear.
For me, a walk along the Swamp Rabbit Trail is a time for reflection and renewal. If I am walking by myself, I can get lost in the sounds of the birds, and I can be stopped by the public art along the trail. When I walk with a friend, I am more focused on our conversation, and it takes a bit more effort to notice the surroundings. On this day, I set an intention to notice as well as share conversation. We left the Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery and headed in the direction of the City of Greenville. The Recycle Rabbit was an appropriate first figure to come across, being that it was Easter Sunday. Keep Greenville County Beautiful commissioned this work to raise awareness of how litter is impacting natural resources and wildlife throughout the area. I saw the Easter Bunny in the Recycle Rabbit, doing its civic duty.
It also reminded me of a friend who always brings a trash bag with her on her walks so that she can pick up trash she finds along the way. I did not see trash along the portion of the trail we walked on Sunday, but you certainly see it along the roadways. Imagine a renewed sense of pride and responsibility if everyone stopped leaving trash along our roadways and waterways?
Loss and Renewal
These past years, we have experienced a lot of loss. Two of my friends recently lost their mothers. Other friends lost their long-term partners. Many of us have lost jobs. Life is like that. We live in chapters. I have often described my transitions as moving into “chapter next.” We all move from loss at our own tempos and moving into renewal and reinvention can feel like one-step forward and two-steps back. We see this in nature also, especially in spring. Gentle flowers and early vegetables begin to emerge, only to be hit by a late frost. And still, life goes on. Loss and renewal, rebirth, reinvention are all parts of life.
More public art
Further down the trail were two complementary art pieces. One was a bench with a bronze casting of running shoes that had belonged to the former president of the Greenville Track Club. Directly across from this is a multi-colored mobile called “The Runner,” nicknamed Ethyl. It is a kinetic sculpture designed for movement to capture what it feels like to run. Unfortunately, there was no wind on this day, so maybe it was a runner at rest.
About two miles from where we started is The Commons. It is a restored series of warehouses designed to create a “pedestrian – and family friendly gathering space.” There are restaurants and bakeries, indoor and outdoor seating, office space and retail space. It is a wonderful stopping off spot to relax and refresh along the trail. And talk about renewal. The former dilapidated warehouse space is modern and fresh and thriving.
When I got home from my walk, I continued to think about what renewal means to me, particularly this spring, particularly as I am working to grow Hey, Boomer. I am committing to renew my focus on my words for this year.
I try to constantly remind myself to be more accepting, more tolerant. We all know how family can push our buttons. This is an area where I recognize that acceptance is loving and although I don’t always succeed, awareness is helping me be more accepting. Accepting change, in our bodies and our abilities, is another way I am finding that acceptance is helpful. As I say in my podcast, “we are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream,” and I am aware that the changes we experience as we age will change how I pursue that new dream.
Renewing my focus on mastery means committing to spend more time on the courses I signed up for and continuing to implement innovations and improvements to grow the reach of Hey, Boomer. It also means being braver about reaching out to sponsors. It means asking current listeners to encourage friends and family to subscribe so that I can grow the email list along with the number of listeners.
Just like the new leaves on the trees and the flowers and vegetables rising to meet the sun, I am in a renewal phase. Will you join me in renewing your commitments to yourself?