I have been choosing a word of the year since about 2009. It’s been such a long time that I can’t remember where I got the idea from in the first place, but I’ve always found it a helpful in guiding me through the year, like a sort of touchstone or north star.
Last year my word was “Growth” and I definitely felt that I grew in many ways both expected and unexpected last year – a new agent and a new publisher definitely helped me grow my writing career and helped me decide to go part time at my day job and a lot of time to think (and take online therapy sessions) definitely helped me grow as a person and make some decisions about what I want out of life when all of this *waves hand generally* is over (my personal “old normal” was making me ill and I want to make a conscious effort to not accidentally slip back into it).
This year I have chosen the word “Learn” as my word of the year. It seems an obvious one in a year when I am going back to school to start my postgrad in Victorian literature, but there’s more to it than that.
Last year I found myself using social media more than ever before. It became a bit of a lifeline in a very difficult year in which I spent most of my time shielding. While it was great to have the “friends in my phone” just a touch away, it also felt very much like sensory overload. Add to that the inevitable posts about Covid being a hoax, lockdown being “an assault on our liberties” and the endless, ill-informed, ableist “lock the vulnerable up” argument, I felt as though my brain was full and my soul was endlessly angry.
I don’t want to feel like that. I want to make space to create and to learn. As well as my postgrad I want to work on being a better writer, on challenging myself with my work more and I want to be open to whatever life throws at me. There is always so much to learn, but unless I give myself the space to do so, nothing will stick.
So I’ve backed away from Twitter and Facebook and have limited my time on Instagram. As I said earlier, I’ve dropped to part-time at my day job and I’m trying very hard not to fill the long boring hours of Lockdown 3.0 with whatever I can to distract myself and, instead, allow myself to daydream a bit more. Who knows where it will lead!?
Do you have a word of the year or are you more of a goals orientated person? I’d love to know.