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Requirements of a Superhero

DSC_2188aInstead of establishing New Year’s goals that I never keep, I made the decision in 2008 to create a yearly theme in which I focused my attention and intentions. Every superhero has a theme and a theme song, right?  I shared this with a dear friend and each year for the past few years we call each other the first week of January and discuss our themes.  I shared it with a client and her theme last year was “Grace, Gratitude, and Greatness!”  She is a fierce one, needless to say!

Welcome, 2016…..

As I was contemplating my theme, I wrote a blog about reflecting on the previous year.  In less than 24 hours of publishing the blog where I referenced my beloved nephews, one was murdered. I was forced to say “See ya later” to Mikel, an 18-year old who possessed a bold meekness that didn’t require an explanation and a smile that illuminated my heart immensely.

More loss. More grief. I can’t.

Yes, I am a therapist and understand and counseled many on death and dying. I was taught the cycle of grief and read many scholarly articles on the process. None of that eases the pain that literally rips through your body when you lose a loved one to death or a significant relationship that justs….ends.  Counseling techniques can be helpful, but it does not lessen the blow to your heart when you experience a loss, whether sudden or foreseeable.

Since 2012, I have grieved the loss of four brothers, two fur babies, a nephew, a significant relationship that one would believe would always be, and a sense of belonging in a familiar place. I am not sharing this to get sympathy, but simply to express…”This sh*t hurts, man!!”

Life is for the living,” a not-so-old wise man told me.

My theme for this year is JOY. This year I am determined to go for the JOY in everything I do and say. I am determined to protect my JOY at all costs! I’m learning what is necessary for me to sustain JOY.

I recognize my JOY needs 30 minutes of daily activity.  A few rounds of air hockey at the nearest Chuckie Cheese is amazing for my JOY! Don’t judge me. Chuckie Cheese is for adults too! They serve adult beverages.

I recognize my JOY needs laughter. I made friends with a couple in a hotel lobby this past weekend while on a short vacay. We played spades and laughed so hard. It was like I’d known them for years. They are now insistent on attending the wedding. Yes…you heard me correctly…we JUST met!

My JOY needs fresh air. This is challenging as the temperature is 16 degrees as I type this but I am committed to keeping my JOY, so I give my JOY fresh air daily by going on very, very (did I say very?) brief walks or runs.

I am determined to go for the JOY!

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you will notice that the Monday Mantra for the remaining month of January and throughout February will focus on the theme of joy. Maybe one day I will get more active on Instagram. Until then….

Every superhero needs a theme and a theme song, right?

What is your theme for 2016?

Post it here! I would love to hear what ya thinkin’! Stay tuned for my theme song.

In Joy…




  1. Caroline  January 20, 2016

    This year my theme is “Being perfectly Imperfect”. So far it has helped me to be courageous and patient with myself.
    Thanks for being brave and honest!

  2. Army Lester  January 21, 2016

    Dr. Thommi,
    Thank you for your JOY. It is amazing what happens when we do the simple things that anyone could do.
    This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Greatness is created by doing the simple things that anyone could do but no one would, and not by the heroic leaps of giants.”

    In JOY,


  3. Anita  January 21, 2016

    My theme for 2016 is to simply stay FOCUS. I find myself doing a lot of things and never completing them, thus missing my true prize in life.

  4. Thommi Odom  January 21, 2016

    I love your theme! Ask yourself, “Is this activity getting me closer or further from my goal?”

  5. Thommi Odom  January 21, 2016

    I LOVE THAT QUOTE! Thank you for sharing that!

  6. Thommi Odom  January 21, 2016

    How Adlerian! I love it! Progress not perfection, right?

  7. Tan  January 21, 2016

    I love this! My theme will be Focus, Organize and Do It Anyway.
    Instead of saying Happy New Year. I’m saying Happy New You ! We often find ourselves doing so much for others that we end up pushing what we need to do back or not doing them at all. This year will be my year! I’m setting goals and puting them in place for a Happy New Me!
    Love Ya Thommi

  8. Consuela Deel  January 24, 2016

    Dr. Odom,

    Since 2014 you have given me some of the most awesome advice and helped me search for my “Joy” both personally and professionally. I pray that you find some solace in the fact that “You Rock”! While assisting others with their desires for joy you have never wavered and have always done it with a smile and with so much compassion. I pray that God assuage your grief during this difficult season.

    – Consuela

  9. Shaniqua  January 27, 2016

    I love this…a theme…

    My theme will be “Being Present!” I have such a hard time with this, always thinking about or preparing for the future.

    Thanks Thommi!

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