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It's been a while since I've posted and I wasn't in a terrific headspace when I did...

Some of you know about my tradition of choosing a word for the year...

Last year, I wrote:

My word for this year is "open": opening physically to give birth, opening emotionally to love this new addition to our family, being open to change, being open to challenge.

I think I've done pretty well with that, although I didn't open physically to give birth very well (in the end, there was a scalpel involved) but I think I succeeded on all the others. Certainly it's been a tumultuous year of change and challenge, and of love and laughter as well. Harper has turned out to be an absolute delight. Doug, I think, would also say she's a handful and he could probably do with a year of better health and more energy to devote to himself as well as to the family.

Last night at the Prodigal Sons and Daughters' picnic, I was chatting with Julian, who I used to live with and with whom I had a fairly fraught relationship. We discussed meds and moods and how we've grown. He observed that I seem to have everything going for me right now and to a great extent that's true: I have a wonderful partner in Doug, and Harper is absolutely the child I dreamed of. I have friends and work and food on the table. I live in a terrific city that I adore. I have my challenges still: I put my foot in it often enough, sometimes badly, and the most recent person I've upset is one of my sisters (I've apologised profusely; now I wait). But my complaints are mostly minor niggles: that we're not at Woodford for New Year this year; that the work I'm doing is not yet the Dream Job.

I think this year my word is "empathy". I think that the issues that I have had towards the end of this year have mostly been a failure of empathy. I like that it's about feeling, and not a conscious thing. I can get the words right as much as I like, but like smiling on the phone, unless the expression is coming from a place of genuine care and understanding, the tone will still be wrong and maybe the words, no matter how innocent, will still be the wrong ones for the situation or will come out tinged with some negative air that I didn't consciously intend.

What's your word?

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