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Ready to Prune in 2023

The first card in our Pruning Daily Ritual's deck asks the question "What visuals, stories, or examples does the word 'pruning' bring to mind today?" As I look back upon this last year, here are some visuals that come to mind:

  • The color-coded, ultra-filled calendar on the wall in our kitchen that never seems to really slow down

  • The multitude of great ideas (goals) at work, but never making a lot of traction (because there are too many great ideas)

  • The decision to stop drinking alcohol earlier this year

  • The holiday presents that I bought for my friends that are still here, and probably will be until March

I don't recall if I had any resolutions at the start of 2022, but I'm ready to start 2023 fresh. I'm about ready to wipe the dry erase calendar clean and start new, and it makes me wonder:

What else can I say "no" to this year?

We live in a culture and community in which we celebrate those who say "yes" and give them a badge of honor, but really, we are perpetuating that we are not doing enough. According to social psychologist Dr. Devon Price, the “laziness lie” tells us that our worth as human beings is linked to our productivity, that our needs and limitations cannot be trusted and must instead be ignored, and that, no matter how busy we are, there is more that we should be doing.

We have literally convinced ourselves we are never enough.

It's so easy to get caught up in judgment when seeing behaviors from yourself, or even others, that are perceived lazy. For instance, my eighth grade daughter has been completely immersed in her phone lately, texting, watching video shorts, listening to music. Meanwhile, she's barely putting any time or energy into the activities she's currently signed up for (show choir, basketball, guitar lessons). She'd much rather just lounge around inside the house or take a bath than to practice her dance moves or free throws. It's so easy to look at her, especially during this winter break, and judge her lack of the activity as lazy rather than a array of other potential realities: exhaustion, anxiety, fear, lack of interest. As a parent, rather than labeling her as lazy or unmotivated, I really need to approach her with curiosity. Perhaps she's doing an excellent job at pruning and is far better at saying no than I am!

We all have a choice - and perhaps it's flipping the script when we hear that inner voice wondering the following:

  • Will my kids miss out or get behind if we don't put them into that off-season team?

  • Will I perceived that I'm not worthy at work (of my salary, title, etc.) if I don't have unwieldly goals?

  • Will I be considered boring or lose friends if I walk away from drinking completely?

  • Will I be thought of as uncaring if I don't mail perfectly photographed holiday cards or buy a them selection of local and meaningful for my friends and ship them in plenty of time before Christmas?

The answers?

  • No. My children (even the eighth grader) are happy, healthy, active, and have plenty on their hearts and minds.

  • No. I have earned the right to set up realistic goals for my team and am respected and appreciated for it.

  • No. I am just as fun and all my real friends will understand and stick with me.

  • No. My friends and coworkers know I care, showing it in ways beyond gift giving.

For me, 2023 will be attempting to stop buying into the laziness lie and start reframing how I prioritize my life. A year from now, I look forward to visualizing stories of the following:

  • A more manageable (and still color-coded) calendar, that includes some more down time for myself and my family

  • Celebration of the goals set forth at work, because they are motivating and attainable

  • Another year of no drinking

  • The holiday presents that I bought for my friends that are still here

Instead of adding more when I feel like I'm not enough, this coming year, I'll prune or cut back instead. Saying no is saying yes to what you value most.

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