If you’ve been here for a while, you probably already know that I typically don’t subscribe to this whole New Year’s resolution, “new year, new me” bullshit. Hell, I get mad when people talk about what a shit year the previous year was.
Somehow, we’re expected to start every New Year with resolutions. Resolutions to get thinner. To get stronger. To be more organized. To be “better.” Instead, I used to make New Year’s plans. But they still had the same ring to them. They had that “er” at the end as if the me that I was in the previous year wasn’t enough for the coming year.
So I made jokes instead. But really, the year I wrote a teasing month-by-month play-by-play of how to live your life, I was focused on being present in the moment. Sometimes, reflection helps me see that what I was writing was more than just pithy banter. My subconscious knows what I want to say years before I can find the words to say it. When I said to do nothing in January, I meant it. But really, I wanted to bask in the afterglow of the holidays. I wanted to relax. I wanted to enjoy time with Brian without social obligation or other outside forces interfering. I wanted to be present.
I continued to make jokes when I set board game goals as my New Year’s plans/resolutions/whatever in 2018. I played 100 different board games, 25 of which were on my shelf of shame (games that we owned and had never played). That shelf of shame continues to grow. It’s almost embarrassing except that it’s not at all. But still I was focused on being present, playing games, being with the people I love, enjoying my life and time.
These days, it’s all about picking a word, as if you could know in January that a single world will be able to define your whole year before you even know what that year is going to throw at you. I wonder what assholes picked pandemic, quarantine, or reclusive to throw us all under the bus in 2020.
I usually like to do a post mortem in which I label my year with a theme. But last year was weird as fuck. I can’t deny that there were some good things that came out of 2020 for me. But there were also a lot of shit things. So I don’t think I need to do a review of any of it.
We watched the Netflix mockumentary, Death to 2020, and about halfway through, I looked at Brian and was like, “Dude, this is WAY too long. I literally just lived this. I don’t need a recap.”
And here’s the kicker. People changed this year. Majorly. I changed. I know that. And we can learn and grow and change in ways that are both good and bad. And just like my little feminist Grinch heart grew three sizes in 2016 — growth in character and belief which I now realize I never really wrote about — 2020 proved to build so much more of what I believe and who I am.
So this year, I’ve decided that it’s okay to join the rest of you New Year Junkies with my very own word of the year. And I’m actually super excited about it. Sure, I don’t know what 2021 is going to throw at us, crazy continuing pandemic aside, but I think this word is really encompassing enough to manage it (unless we end up in a post-apocalyptic world in which my most useful skill will likely be turning canned food into gourmet delicacies). So here it is.
My word of the year is:
At first, it was a joke in my head. As I slowly began the ardurous process of unsubscribing to political emails at the end of November and marketing emails at the end of December. I’d had enough and was ready to simplify my inbox. Clear the clutter so to speak.
I want to expand my focus on being present, and in order to do that, I know that I need to unsubscribe to more than just emails. I need to unsubscribe to my issues. And other people’s issues (as an empath, I suspect this is going to be the hardest). And every unnecessary thing that brings me down. I want to focus on living a life well lived and not a life well-Instagrammed.
So here I am, ready to take on the world, just like my girl Riley. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.