What am I about to say will not be indicative of the title of this post ‘2017: a year of joy’, but just hear me out. I promise it gets better towards the end 🙂
I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in, well, years. I no longer see the value in waiting until a night of champagne followed by a morning of mimosas to turn my sh*t around. Call me crazy (nothing new), but that’s not to say I don’t make resolutions/goals throughout the course of each year; some of which I achieve and some of which I don’t. Both the former and the latter make me stronger, wiser, and better prepared for what lies ahead. So to all you resolution nay say-ers out there, I both agree and disagree you –> she said, completing the safest political statement made on American soil in months.
Instead of compiling a list of resolutions in the days leading up to January 1, I pause to reflect on the plans I made and acted on over the past 12 months (once again, not all successful). Around the time I decided to replace NYE resolutions with continuously improving as the year went on, I began the practice of choosing a word of the year. This practice is one that I adopted after listening to the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft. The word you choose is meant to act as a theme for what you hope to achieve and, in 2016, my word was composed. See Exhibit ‘A’ below 😉
In her podcast, Gretchen and her sister discuss choosing their word of the year in September. The fall has always been a season of rejuvenation for me, so I too followed their lead. Once autumn came around this year, I cracked open my journal and put some quiet thought into what my word would be for 2017. After a few days of contemplating what my biggest hopes and goals were for the months ahead, I decide my word of the year would be joy.
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” – Josephine Billings
So what does a year of joy look like, you ask? Well, it starts with the welcoming of new life when I witnessed the birth of my niece this past November. My mom and I spent a week in Virginia with my sister and my 2 year-old nephew, waiting and being present for the birth of Anya Josephine Wheeler. I will never forget that moment, it is my favorite memory of 2016, and it brings me joy thinking about her bright future.
With the theme of family in mind, a year of joy also means more quality time spent with the ones I love. One of the ways I have already begun acting on that is shifting the focus of this blog. My husband and I dedicate time each weekend to going on a hike, camping, and/or simply being in the outdoors. We both love the outdoors and have hiked and camped together since we started dating 8 years ago. I know that with this renewed tradition, 2017 and the years that follow will be very, very joyful.
Something that has also always brought me joy is giving back to others. One of my big goals for 2017 is to invest time giving back on a weekly basis. Ever since I started volunteering on my own in high school, getting involved in activism in college, and then teaching English in Bosnia after graduation; serving those who are less fortunate has given me so much purpose. A few months ago I contacted an organization Tiyya that serves refugee families in the Orange County area. I will be teaching English and be paired with a family in the New Year. I am beaming with joy and anticipation.
Do you pick a word of the year? I would love to hear what it is in the comments below!
In Love, Peace, and Joy ~ xo