I woke up alone on Sunday morning (January 1st) for the first time since I was 19 years old. I had a lovely celebration with friends the night before and even in the days leading up. And the day of the 1st itself was rich and full—I wrote, I went to a three-hour 5Rhythms event, talked to a friend on zoom and had dinner with another friend. But it’s clear that this will be a very different year. How different and in what ways is still an unknown.
So, my word of the year (WOTY) is WELCOME.
Every year (as many of you do, no doubt, and many of us here at Fit Is a Feminist Issue) I choose a WOTY (here’s about last year). Sometimes the word is aspirational and other years it is a beacon. This year it is the latter—a lighthouse to indicate the shoals, when I fall out of alignment with its intent; and a north star to guide my speech, actions and spirit. Last year was a hard one and this year coming will be … well, January 1st is at its core, just another day, the next day following December 31. It is not a magic wand or a reset button. It is a continuation of what already is, with the added seasoning of a societally reinforced moment for self-reflection and taking stock. All of which means, this year will be hard, too. At least for a while. How I approach it is where I can make a difference.
Other contenders were words like resilience, grit, open and heart. None of those quite captured the full essence. Resilience and grit were too anchored in the challenge, too much about survival. Open and heart did not feel robust enough, like they were too easily crushed. Then Nicole proposed greet and my mind immediately jumped to welcome (Thank you for the prompt!). I can greet something with pleasure or dismay. I wanted a word that included the dismay, invited it in. I want to welcome the dismay, the grief, the fear, and all the everything hard and unpleasant. Just as much as I want to welcome the love, the heart, the kindness, the connection and all the everything pleasurable and joyful the year has in store. Welcome contains flow and ease, dynamism and stillness.
Good. That’s settled then.
As for my annual challenge (not a resolution!), I had some initial resistance to this staple in my new year habits. My being protested, “Just getting through the year will be a challenge! Isn’t that enough?” Yes. And an annual challenge will redirect some focus. I’m sticking with my habit. This year I’ll return to a challenge I undertook 5 years ago—to not shop for clothes, shoes, accessories for the year. I had an initial instinct to change the challenge a little from last time and allow myself vintage or second-time around shopping, but even in just thinking about it, I quickly realized that I appreciate the challenge not only for its environmental aspects (which Sam talks about so well here in her piece about how she’s continuing her no shopping challenge), but also for the mental hygiene, keeping my mind space clear of my tendency to crave a new piece of clothing. To wit, I almost didn’t take up the challenge, because I had this thought, “But I’ll need the pressure release and/or the solace of buying something new!”
This year I’ll work on welcoming the discomfort, instead of burying it under a new pair of pants and a fresh top.
Wish me luck!
And welcome to whatever may come.