It usually takes me the entire month of January to sort out my New Year goals and resolutions, and this year was no different. Considering my hopes and plans for the year fills January with a sort of energy that I know I’d struggle to find otherwise, though, so I make no effort to change this pattern. It just feels right to spend December enjoying the present — the tastes, smells, sounds and sights of the holidays, the time with family and friends, and the sacred Advent and Christmas rituals — and to spend the dark and dreary days of January looking forward to brighter days and considering the things I’d like to change in the upcoming year.
After 31 days of percolation, some concern and some crossing out and re-writing, I feel oriented and committed to the word, resolutions, and to-do’s that I’ve set for myself in 2018.
Word of the Year: Reach
As I mentioned two posts ago, it was hard for me to think of a word for the year — and of resolutions at large — because there wasn’t an obvious area of needed improvement within my life. I’m feeling fulfilled and happy within my professional and personal life, and don’t need a dramatic increase of levity (2016) or perspective (2017) to get keep myself sane. That’s why I ultimately decided on the word “reach” for the year.
Because I’m feeling positively about life overall, I have the energy and enthusiasm to take what’s good in my life to the next level. In 2018, I resolve to go the extra mile in the various areas of my life:
- With the relationships that matter most to me
- With my writing endeavors
- With work: with my relationships there, and with my projects (particularly, trying new things)
- With my character: being a bigger and better person
- With my taking in of the world: striving to be an active, not passive, participant in life
I have been so blessed with a family that I adore, wonderful friendships, fulfilling work, the opportunity to live in a lovely city and to travel more broadly, and a wide variety of interests. This year, I want to consciously live this one life that I have fully and abundantly, for my sake and for the sake of the people I encounter.
Quotes of the Year:
“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” —Flannery O’Connor
“For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” — John F. Kennedy
“Choose the bigger life.” — Gretchen Rubin
“We are what we repeatedly do.” — Aristotle
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but. No one things of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy
“We are all just walking each other home.” —Rumi
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Rumi
“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.” — Thomas Aquinas
Reach Related Resolutions
- Write three smart sentences about the things that I read/watch/listen to/attend.
- Pause before speaking unkindly. Remember that I have a choice in what I say and that choices have consequences.
- Go a little deeper. Get to know people more. Ask better questions. Practice conversation. Gather advice and input. Listen deeply.
- Do the things that I have been meaning and wanting to do (see 18 in 2018).
- Invest time and energy in creativity and pursuing writing interests. Take pictures, submit or pitch article ideas monthly, interact with other writers, do some sort of personal writing (unpaid) monthly.
- Consume consciously. Question consumption. Delay gratification. Only but treats with treat money (Christmas, birthday, etc.). Try to buy used good and local items. Cook consciously.
- Think contemplatively. Keep trying to pray. Look for thin places.
18 Things to do in 2018
- Write a narrative essay and submit it competitively.
- Cancel old credit cards and get a new one in my name only.
- Sort out medical related things (find Caleb an eye doctor and dentist, go to my PCP).
- Read Infinite Jest.
- Wear everything I own once or get rid of it.
- Send favorite Cheryl Strayed essay to girl cousins.
- Write one Thank You note per month.
- Transcribe quote books and organize quotes.
- Sort out my feelings about being a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom.
- Do one special thing per month (go somehwere, host visitors, celebrate a holiday or liturgical season in a particularly meaningful way).
- Visit a new Ivy League.
- Organize passwords.
- Staycation at the Dean Hotel.
- Learn about and practice DSLR photography.
- Monthly sibling connection.
- Renew passports.
- Go on a retreat.
- Acknowledge birthdays.