This weekend I attended a Leadership Retreat at our church. No leadership conference/retreat is complete without a motivational speaker. This one was no different.

He started out with a short exercise. Write your memoir in six words. Well, that is not really a short exercise. Some people were able to come up with something quickly and shared their six words. I was stuck. So many words to choose from.

How could I sum up the last 53 years in six words? Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Widow, Thriver. Those are all descriptive words but do they really sum up life.

I thought about those six words for the rest of the day. How do I sum up an entire life?

While the six-word challenge was churning in my brain, the speaker moved on and then narrowed it down even further.

ONE WORD Challenge. You have probably heard of this. Pick one word that you want to focus on for the year. Some of the words people chose were “welcoming; thankful; prayer; hope.”

Again, this is not a quick exercise. At least not for me. I have done this in the past, choosing one word. And after a few weeks, I forgot all about it.

One year it was Intentional. Another year it was Friendship. But 2020 is a big year. A new decade. What word would help me kick off this new decade in the way in which I wanted to move my life forward?

I don’t know how your brain works, but these kinds of questions get stuck in my head, and even if I’m not consciously thinking about them, they are churning in the back of the brain at all times.

That afternoon I had some friends over. Some lovely ladies that I have become very close with over the past few years whom I met through a stage 4 breast cancer group. One of them had scans recently and wasn’t feeling very optimistic. As we poured a glass of wine, she shared the news: 3-6 months. The doctor has run out of treatment options for her. She is continuing treatment because she has had the hard conversations with her doctor about quality of life. She wants to enjoy what time she has left and he has given her a treatment option to try to give her the best quality of life possible during this time.

After a few glasses of wine, some laughing and some crying it was time for them to head home. Hugs all around and promises to get “the gang” together as much as possible over the next several months.

After they left I was feeling a little depleted. I have seen this ugly disease take so many who weren’t ready to go.

As I settled on the couch and thought about my friend and what the next several months might look like, my six words came to me:

Living for today, Hoping for tomorrow.

Kim Builta, six word memoir

And as I settled on those six words I also discovered my one word:

PURPOSEFUL – I want to live every day with purpose. Some days that might just look like going to lunch with a friend. Other days it may mean seeking to understand God’s purpose in my life. And still others it might mean following through with that purpose and advocating for those, like me, living with stage 4 breast cancer or focusing on writing – on my blog offering hope to those on the path behind me, or finishing the book that I know is inside of me.

What is your Six-Word Memoir? And what one word have you chosen to help you live it out?