Word of the Year: 2021

Goodbye, 2020. Hello, 2021.

Last year I was really excited about my word of the year. Less. Less seemed like such a good choice at the time when there was so much noise it was hard to focus. 2020 was going to be the year of less but better. A year to focus on the essentials and eliminate all of the unneeded stress and clutter in my life. Things started off pretty well. Then a global pandemic hit. The world turned upside down. The dumpster started on fire and well, forgive my crudeness, everything kind of went to shit. The Year of Less took on a whole new meaning and became something very different than what I originally had in mind.

2020 is over and we’ve made it through. I could spend this post reflecting on all the lessons learned during the shit show that was 2020. (Yes, desipte it all, there were many lessons learned and perspectives gained that I will carry forward for the better.) But, this is the first post of the new year. Time to focus on the future. I’ll save my ruminations and reflections on the past for a future post. Let’s move forward, shall we?

Time to Restore

The Year of Less was full of challenges to say the least and there were many things I let go of just to cope and make it through. Some of those things I was glad to let go of and happy to leave behind. However there are things I lost that I’m ready to bring back. So, 2021 is the year I Restore. This does not mean I want to spend my year going backwards, starting over, or reverting to some past iteration of my former self. It means I want to restore some of the habits and mindsets that I seemed to have lost through the passing of time. The idea of restoring something is hopeful. It means the skills and knowledge need to accomplish this goal are in me because I’ve done it, or something similar, before. Ha! I can do it again. For me, restore does not mean restart or return. It means to renew, refresh, and rejuvenate. After a long hard year, I think we might all need a bit of rejuvenation. Don’t you?

The Goals

So, what do I have in store for the year of restore? Well, here is what I’m thinking. Some things on this list are specific while others are a bit more abstract and cerebral but together it makes sense to me.

  • Restore healthy habits. Move more. Eat well. Be mindful. I have done this before with success. I felt great, mind and body. But then bad habits became easier than good habits and easier felt good at the time. Time to put those habits back in place. I’ll feel better when I take better care of myself. Right?
  • Restore creative pursuits. When you are just trying to make it through the day, you don’t have much time for creative things. Last year was not the most creative year for me. This year I’m restoring creativity, whimsy, and wonder as priorities. More writing. More making. More exploring. More curiosity.To get me started I teamed up with some friends to make a temperature blanket! Nothing says creativity like learning how to crochet while creating a usable visualization of daily weather data! Yes, I’m super stoked for this project! Hopefully it will be my first of many new projects and experiments this year.
  • Restore connections. Last year was isolating. Both physically and mentally. So much changed in the way we interacted with each other. Some changes were needed and some were healthy. But some changes were damaging. This year will focus on restoring lost connections and reconnecting with people in meaningful ways. I don’t know about you, but I really miss people. I’m so thankful for my small bubble of folks but man what I wouldn’t give to feel safe standing in a crowded venue surrounded by the energizing buzz of strangers again.
  • Restore balance. My balance went a little wonky in 2020. Working from home and dealing with that ever changing “new normal” threw me out of whack. I’d over compensate one way just to then over compensate the other way trying to stay a float in a churning sea of anxiety, fear, doubt, and pressure. It was exhausting. It’s time to restore a bit of balance and calm. Don’t ask me how. I haven’t figured that part out yet. But I’ll work on it.
  • Restore joy. It was hard to be joyful last year. So much was happening to so many that even small moments of joy had cloudy film. I stopped doing things that brought me joy and just kind of existed for a while. If 2020 taught us anything, it is that life is fleeting. Why waste that precious time focused on the negative or worse, nothing at all? I know it sounds naive but I rather spend my time spreading and sharing joy. Time to spread some happy!

The First Steps

Reading back through the bullets I admit I feel a bit overwhelmed. Those are some big goals there, 2021. Do we need to talk about managing expectations? I remember this time last year as I wrote my post and looked optimistically to the shinning promise that was 2020, the Year of Less, and then how quickly things shifted. So, this year I’m approaching the new year tentatively optimistic. Less of a shinning promise and more a sparkle of restored hope. The goals might be big but small steps can still move me forward. And that is ok. And forward I shall move.

So, as we clean off the layer ash from last year’s dumpster fire and sort through the debris from the shit storm that was 2020, I wish you all peace. I hope you all have a year that helps you restore what you need. Whether it is health or hope, faith or friendships, creativity or community or all of the above or something entirely different. Today is a new day at the start of a new year. It might not be a magic flip of the switch that will make everything better or “normal”, it is an opportunity to take a step forward in a new direction. A time to Restore, Renew, Refresh, and Rejuvenate. So, that’s what I’ll do. Happy New Year, everyone!

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