New year. New word. For those just joining the audience, for the last three years I’ve eschewed resolutions. Instead, I go for the minimal acknowledgement that it’s time to look ahead at where I want to be this time next year. So…I choose but I try to choose decisively.
Only one word is required to remind myself what I need and wish for myself during the year. A reminder that keeps me on point and driven towards my ultimate goals.
In 2021, my word was thrive. 2020 wrecked me and a lot of other people I might add. It was an endless primal scream, often with no sound coming out and frankly 2021, didn’t seem like it would offer much in the way of a quick relief. I needed a word that would help me survive and remind me of what was important. Thrive did that because it told me to adopt self care whenever possible. I had to Maya Angelou my life. Bloom abundantly wherever, and however the fuck, I was planted. Find my happy even if it’s on the smallest terms. Notice and give thanks for all my blessings of which, there are many.
In everyday ways, it meant don’t watch the news and listen to or read it a lot less. Lean into those monthly mani pedis, the one gluttonous ablution I’ll outsource and pay for. And yes, throw in the 15 minute massage and the lavender gel too, please and thank you very much. Go to your oldest friend, the beach, and tell her your secrets. Let her rage at you about how ungrateful we humans are. Limit social media interactions because however wonderful and good I sincerely think it often is; it is also like self medicating poison, the bane of our current existence. Take care of your eyes and read for joy not obligation, which meant reading much less than usual. Write for me, not everyone else. You may publish less or not at all, but you will begin to know who you are as a writer. Continue to do the things you know you must. Live. Laugh. Love. Stay safe and don’t take crap from a.n.y.b.o.d.y.
All in all, thrive worked for me. The dark depression I was mired in feeling at the end of 2020 began to melt away and something unexpected happened. Others began to see me…for real. And it was a bit of a revelation for them but also for me. That’s the one good and consistent thing about truth. It usually reveals itself. By fall, I felt rejuvenated and a bit surprised at how many doors were opening for me. There were literally options and choices, everywhere. It was both disconcerting and exciting. I had new job opportunities, new story ideas, new or revived friendships, a damn ton of stuff to read and of course, all of it would require a lot of hard work to stay on top of. There was drama too. Toxic relationships are never very far away. They lie in wait for you to pick up, cradle and soothe like the colicky baby you didn’t actually give birth to. A friend describes those parts of my life as “Shakespearean”. She ain’t wrong. It was also clear I had a lot of decisions to make.
By the time December rolled around I hadn’t chosen my word for 2022 but I had some definite ideas about what I hoped this year would bring about for me. Great changes were already afoot. I wanted to be ready for them. I was thinking and dreaming almost religiously about forward momentum and leaping into this 2022 with all the hopeful joie de vivre I’d been slowly manifesting in my heart all year long.
By the time Xmas was approaching things took a surprising turn. This triple vaxed, mask wearing, hand washing, damn near misanthropist got COVID just as I was beginning my holiday vacation. And it was let me tell you the VERY, freakin’ symptomatic kind.
I honestly believe there are teachable moments everywhere if you look for them but for a couple of days this one eluded me. I hadn’t had a cold in nearly two years. Except for cat allergies, eye strain, occasional back pain from endless sitting, and a case of seafood poisoning (yeah the beach wasn’t the only one raging that April weekend), I hadn’t been sick at all since early 2020. And if that weren’t enough, I had to turn down drinking jungle-birds with a good friend who I love to laugh with, Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner at another dear friend’s beautiful home with other friends that included my daughter and her monsieur, and I kid you not, an all expense paid trip to Mexico for the holidays with friends I love. Please Goddess tell me what in the heck was I supposed to learn from this crappy scenario?
Eventually I figured it out. And like Jacinta Howard often does so well, I’ll attempt to number my epiphanies.
1. I’d been working very hard at my day job this year and desperately needed this Christmas holiday for me. In the end, since the job was also likely where Rona had snuck into my system, I’d probably been working much too hard and I really do need tangible reminders to stop doing that shit.
2. Renew your passport now you idiot. I might have been fully recovered by the time I was supposed to go to Mexico but because I was stupid sick I had to stay home and forgo doing the Jedi mind tricks required to get a last minute emergency passport renewal.
3. Despite the powers of the British crime drama deities I worship, after 5 days of isolation and a shit ton of DayQuil, Christmas Day was probably the most depressed I’d been all year. I would later describe it as the 2nd worst Xmas I’ve ever had in my life. Yet, even then I could see the blessing of my warm, WiFi-ed home with deliverables and my cats, a relatively delightful place to be sick; and my friends who checked in daily, some even sending food and elixirs that will burn off your troublesome nose hair in a mad hunt for congestion as veritable godsends; and my kid who told her mom she missed her and meant it even though we were only a floor apart as my hope for the future. These blessings of course led me to think about the worse Xmas I’d ever had in an entirely different and loving light.
Nothing like a reset to put it all in perspective, huh?
Consequently, my personal word to remember for 2022 is going to be reset. The word genuinely means to set again or adjust or fix in a new or different way. But I prefer looking at this word’s synonyms for clarity: reconstituted, reconstructed, amended, corrected, improved, rectified, regenerated, renewed, revised, revolutionized, reworked, reestablished, reorganized, rebooted, and my personal favorite of all, transformed.
Since it’s clear we live in interesting times my friends, I’m expecting another interesting year. I’m also beginning to think I’m ready for it. How about you?