How Are You Living Your OLW?

My One Little Word (OLW) for 2014 is float. You can read about my journey to finding my OLW here. We are now almost five months into 2014, and I am still learning how to live my OLW.

My OLW keeps appearing in my life. I notice the word ‘float’ in books I am reading. I catch students using the word ‘float’ in their writing. Good friends text me a one-word reminder when I feel like I am beginning to drown. And a dear friend of mine gifted me with this beautiful reminder for my desk at work.


I guess that’s the point of choosing OLW, isn’t it? To be reminded of the person we would like to be.

The biggest lesson for me so far this year has been: When I carry too much, I start to sink. My best defense against sinking is to lighten my load, so I am trying to be present and to do one thing at a time. I am trying not to worry about how large the laundry pile has gotten when I am supposed to be playing with my girls. I am trying not to check my work emails when I am supposed to be unwinding in the evening with my husband.  I do try. It is so easy to forget to be present as my To Do list gets longer and longer. Yet, when I hear my tongue get sharp and feel my patience wane, I know that I am sinking. “Float,” I remind myself.  I lighten my mind’s load and focus on the people in front of me. It’s hard.

I have also learned that in order to float, I sometimes need to breathe in deeply and breathe out again. I never realized it before, but a deep breath goes a long way. Breathe in, breathe out. Sometimes, I think people may interpret it as an exasperated sigh, but I promise it is not. It is a physical reminder to slow down. It’s how I float.

I still have a long way to go, but I’m learning.  I’m learning that I don’t handle stress well, but I do have people in my life that are more than willing to overlook that flaw.  I’m learning that exercise not only makes my body healthier, but also my mind.  I’m learning to make time for the things that truly matter.

I have plans to float this summer, both literally and figuratively. Inspired by a recent email conversation I had with Stacey, I am going to unplug this summer. No Facebook, no work emails, no blogging other than here at TWT. I can’t float if I’m constantly connected. I don’t know if I will ever achieve the steadiness and balance it takes to float… but I know I am becoming a better person for trying.

If you’d like to reflect on your OLW journey, please blog about it and copy your link in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “How Are You Living Your OLW?

  1. Intewesting you mentioned the OLW. I was just thinking this afternoon that I seem to have deviated from that self care contained in “Moi.” I have, after a glorious vacation, slipped back into drive mode with work, work, work.
    I ought to re-read my original post.
    Thanks for the reminder!


  2. I wanted to blog about my OLW – “try” today, but it wasn’t there for me. Is it because I haven’t been living my OLW? Is it because I didn’t sit down with a concentrated amount of time to write? Maybe yes, maybe no. But, thank you Dana for your post. It has me thinking. May will be my month to watch for truly living my word. I’m glad you’re floating. I really am.


  3. Your post – tonight – was important to me. I just concluded a fight about whether or not my 150,000 mile / 30,000+ miles a year needed to go due to a check engine light problem! I was thinking about how I would need to WORK this summer rather than loaf….and I forgot that my OLW was JOY and I DO find JOY in teaching….thus I guess the answer is clear….I will work – professing what I do and love – and that is what it should be….and you know what? That is OK!


  4. As you know, I’m resting my arm from anything that’s not for TWT or Craft Moves. Therefore, I’m not going to do a blog post about my OLW. However, I did want to take time to reflect.

    I have done well staying optimistic when there have been setbacks. Just this morning Isabelle said, “I cannot remember,” when she couldn’t say a word. That’s been happening more often lately. I’m trying to remind myself that she’s communicating rather than throwing a tantrum. That’s incredible. This, too, shall pass.

    I’ve been taking care of my own needs as much as possible. It’s been hard since I find I’m running around a lot trying to do everything. When necessary, I go to bed at 9 p.m. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day, but it pays to be awake for the ones you have!

    We’re continuing to work daily. While I’ve taken a day off here and there (like during Passover) from doing picture cards with Isabelle, I am constantly cueing her and having her try words again.

    As for the rest of my points, https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/promise2014/, I promise to continue to work on them. They’re still works in progress!

    I LOVE that you’re going to take time away to float this summer. Kudos to you, Dana! It is so important, as you’ve seen. It’s quite a journey, this OLW, isn’t it?


    1. Stacey, it sounds like you’re trying so hard to live up to all your promises, especially to Isabelle. I love hearing about all her progress, both big and little steps.


  5. This was the first I heard of OLW, but I’ve had one for years: respect. It was the only “rule” for my classroom because pretty much all behavior, from eating in the classroom (only if you have enough to share with everyone), to treating books with care, to completing assignments on time, to interrupting to ask to go to the bathroom, is covered. Now that I’m out of the classroom, I’ve discovered that the hardest person to respect is myself. It is easier to take on everyone else’s needs than it is to respect my own. Thanks for the reminder to live with respect for others (and even for myself)!


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