Is it too late for a new year’s post? Even though I spend weeks looking forward to that delicious holiday morning when I christen my planner with (specific, measurable, attainable) goals for the coming months, I still tiptoe into the new year, avoiding all the vision board workshops and manifestation chatter. I don’t lift my head up until February, or maybe even March (hello March!), when all the “new year new me” furor has calmed down. I love new years, but on my own terms. For me, January isn’t about resolutions, it’s about plans.
Last year, 2019, was the first year in forever when I achieved nothing I set out to do in January. That’s not to say it was a lost year. Kevin and I sold our home of twenty years, saw our son graduate high school and start college, moved from Colorado to California, and lived apart from each other for an agonizing eleven months during the transition. I took in an extra teenage boarder, ran my business for the first half of the year, and handled most of the house preparations and showings on my own. (Plus, I started double cleansing! That’s worth some credit, right?) It’s not that I didn’t accomplish anything in 2019. It’s just that I didn’t end the year with 10,000 Instagram followers and a newly-thriving California-based small business the way I’d originally intended.
I also cried a lot last year, as I did the real emotional work of moving on from a place and a life that I loved. And, come the dropping of the Times Square ball, I wasn’t miraculously healed. Go figure.
As I approached January, still aching and at a loss as to what I wanted to do next, I (paradoxically) found myself thinking about one of those very “new year, new me” tropes I always tried to avoid—the word of the year.
If you haven’t heard about the word of the year idea, it comes down to this: on January 1, you distill all your resolutions, dreams, and self-improvement plans down to a single word, preferably something broad and aspirational that can function as an umbrella for more specific goals and a touchstone for the SMART-goal averse. It works for a lot of people—at least for a few months. I rarely hear anyone other than the most stalwart of self-improvement bloggers talking about their word of the year in July or October.
I’m sure a lot of you are hearing my tone here and thinking I’m stubborn or judgmental or quick to criticize things I haven’t tried, which…I totally am. That’s why it was so surprising when I found myself earnestly telling a friend all about my word of the year as I drove her to the airport on the first day of January.
What I realized when I sat down to write out my
goals plans for 2020 (which I still did, by the way) was that only one thing really, really mattered, and that was noticing happiness when it found me, becoming attuned to the most subtle of heart flutters and aware of all the crazy, aching beauty in the world.
So, even though it seemed a fragile concept to hang a whole year on, I chose my word and I’m sticking by it.
Of course, I have plans to help me embrace it….but more on that later.