Originally published at www.queermartha.com.
I believe in making new year’s resolutions.
I mean, look, New Year’s is a made-up holiday that falls too close to Christmas to feel really special, especially when you have to work those weird days between the two holidays. I think the least we can do to try to squeeze every last festive drop out of the last day of the year is to use it as a time to reflect, reset, and resolve to be more mindful about a part of our life over the next 12 months.
I don’t particularly believe in making goal-based resolutions, though.
Listen, a year is a long time! People change in the course of a year! And you are stuck with your resolution! What if half way through the year you decide that the sad post-holiday version of yourself had weird warped ideas about what would make you a better person? Sure, come April you can say, “Forget about it, this is a year for learning how to play the harmonica, not writing a book!” and that is great. I am excited to hear your harmonics. But it’s not a new year’s resolution, it’s just a good idea. Maybe not even a good idea, because the year is 25% over and you know you are never going to practice enough to learn how to play Auld Lang Syne on the mouth harp by next New Years. On the other hand, if on January 1st you resolved to take the Christmas tree down before February (which is a terrible idea), and you follow through… then you are resolved to nothing for the rest of the year and people with think you are a resolution wimp. And they will think that because it is true. Goal-based resolutions are hard! And not necessarily challenging hard. Just annoying hard.
Ok, so what do you think about this? Last year, instead of a goal-based resolution, I simply chose a word to reflect on throughout the year. I liked this idea because it seemed so much more flexible and thoughtful than a goal-based resolution. Words can adapt to mean different things in different situations. They are evocative and evolving. One word is easy to remember, which is actually pretty important when summer comes and the new year starts feeling old.
Last year’s word was “persist.” In December 2014, I felt like I needed a word that would remind me that it is ok to be unhappy sometimes, that things will almost certainly get better if you keep on keeping on. The word ended up being a motto for going to the gym, which Rachel and I did throughout 2015 (which I probably wouldn’t have if my resolution was just “go to the gym.”). It inspired me to reach out to folks who might help me in my career someday — and reminded me that even when the help didn’t work out, persistence requires patience. Persist inspired me to start this blog. Look, this is us being swolemates with our BTF (best trainer forever??) Vanessa.
So! What will this year’s word be? Fantastic question. The first word that came to mind was “leap.” I want to take more risks this year, and “leap” seems like a good word to motivate that action. However, when we leap into something new we have to leap away from something else. I want a word that implies building on what I have and love right now. So sayonara “leap!”
The next word I thought of was “produce.” I want to write more, I want to sew more, I want to bake more… and “produce” feels like a word full of bounty. Also, I should probably eat more fruits and vegetables… so… “produce.” However, I also want to work on making some babies in 2016, and in that context “produce” just sounds weird and Brave New Worldy.
“Produce” did, however, lead directly to the final pick for the Word of the Year: “create.” Yes, create has much in common with “produce,” but it loses the uncomfortable association to a puppy mill when applied to my uterus (maybe that’s just me). I hope to create more content for the blog, I hope to create paths forward in my career, I hope to create unforgettable memories on our many trips this year (yahoo weddings!), and I hope to maybe create something brand new for the world, or at least get it started.
So 2016: Create.
I guess that was pretty anti-climactic since the title of this post was the answer to the question. Sorry about that.