2017 in Just One Word

I’m not really a New-Year’s-resolution-making type of person. If I’m going to set a goal for the New Year, I tend to always choose the same one: improve my ability to stay in touch with others. (I wrote about this resolution two years ago.) Thanks to this repeating goal, I think I get just a little bit better at staying in touch with friends and family every year, and if nothing else, at least I regularly send Christmas cards now.

For 2017, I’m curious to approach the New Year from a different perspective. As I wrap up my MFA degree and prepare to graduate, I’m excited for whatever might come next. The writer inside me is throwing away resolutions in favor of words—and just one word, to be exact. Can I find just one word to embrace in 2017? Specifically, can I find just one word to define my year and keep with me as a sort of mantra to focus me through the year? I’m going to give it a try.

I’m choosing the word EXPERIENCE. I want to experience all that I can: gardening in the backyard, rock climbing with my husband, painting the basement, playing fetch with our dog, cuddling in front of the TV with our kitty, continuing to write as much as possible, throwing myself into social and political causes that I care about, sitting for hours and hours with a good book, bringing yoga back into my life, walking around the neighborhood or the park or the beautiful campus where I work. My list could go on and on.

I’m going to allow myself to experience whatever comes my way, and I will also take an active role in finding those experiences. My word for 2017 will encourage me to search out both familiar experiences and new ones. And I won’t judge. If I want to have a lazy, relaxing experience, so be it. And after I’ve relaxed, I can look for more adventurous experiences. I may not experience all the things on my list above, and probably, I’ll experience things I never even dreamed of adding to that list. Again, this isn’t about judgment. With my word in mind, I will take everything in and just see what happens. Plus, if I’m really good at this experiencing thing, I will definitely have a wealth of new material to write about. That’s certainly an added bonus, especially as I aim to write more on this blog!

So, as January 2017 roles right along, I’ve already experienced quite a bit: I read part of my MFA thesis publicly, I taught a seminar to my fellow MFA students, I found a local writers group and attended the January meeting, I went to a wine-bottling party where I learned about how to make wine at home (I don’t really drink alcohol but this was fun!). And it’s only January—I still have 11 more months to go!

As a parting note, I can’t take credit for this idea of a word of the year. Check out this link for more information on the idea and examples of how one word has worked in others’ lives. I’m excited to see what happens for me!

What’s your word for 2017?

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Now this is an experience I could definitely get into!

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