It seems to be “a thing”—at least among some of my friends who are “creative-types.” Following the lead of Chris Brogan and others, they are choosing theme words for the year ahead instead of making New Year’s resolutions. Since I play a lot of Scrabble, make my living spitting out words, and have never had much luck with resolutions, this theme word approach caught my attention.
But picking words to guide your choices for a whole year is rather daunting. I’ve been auditioning a number of words for the past few weeks and finally have honed in on my choices. Here they are (at least until I change them):
I do already write—a 2000 word sermon every week and who knows how many more words in the form of emails. This year I want to push myself to write in other formats—more letters, more journaling, more blog posts. Things get clearer to me when I scribble and type.
As in “It’s a wrap.” In the year ahead, I want to make a concerted effort to finish the things I start. If you peel that back, what it really means is that I want to be a little more circumspect about what I do start. Everyone loves beginnings. A new batch of art supplies, a new trail to explore, a new book to read, a new project—the joys of embarking. And post-illness, when you are so very appreciative of new beginnings, it’s easy to embrace the world that has been returned to you a little too exuberantly and to start too many things. This year I want to focus not so much on starting new projects, but finishing ones are already underway.
The theme word gurus also mention that you should choose words that tap into more than one dimension of your life. The word “wrap” as a choice for 2017 should work well on one or two other fronts in my life. But more on those later.
I always used to think of myself of someone who would live into her nineties. After all, my great aunt Charlotte lived to be 101—even with diabetes and a penchant for chocolate donuts. Multiple myeloma has changed my outlook. The most optimistic of my oncologists projects “a normal lifespan,” but his is still very much a minority opinion. Mostly, I avoid reading the life expectancy tables associated with my disease, because although they are changing, they are still grim. At least if you are used to thinking about life in the luxurious terms of rolling decades.
I am training myself to think in shorter blocks. Or to repeat the Schopenhauer quote several seemed to resonate with in my last post: Each day is a little life. There is so much loving and living to be crammed into a single day. I don’t mean blowing up the to do list and stuffing days with hundreds of thing to get done or experiences, but rather savoring, really relishing, the days as they unfold. Letting each one be the perfect jewel that it already is.
And if all else fails, relish as one of my words for 2017 can be 100% literal. All I have to do is pop open a jar of the delicious homemade relishes I received this Christmas. Thanks to friends who can, my pantry shelves are filled with treats like cranberry-ginger marmalade, yellow tomato jam, paradise jelly, bread and butter pickles, and blueberry jam. Even if I fall down on the writing and the wrapping, relish is fail-safe!
Write, Wrap, and Relish. I think it’s going to be a good year.
P.S. I’d love to hear what your words for 2017 are.