I’m not sure there has ever been a year that I’ve been more excited to see over. I suspect that I’m not alone in thinking this; however, I do caution myself that the years changing is just a construct, the issues we face individually and collectively throughout 2020 are still present and will still need to be dealt with. At the same time, beginning a new year, a new start, even a new month, can often represent sufficient hope to be able to change the narrative, change trajectory, change direction.
One way many people celebrate the New Year is to set intentions or resolutions for the year. Pretty sure one of the only entities that benefits from this practice are the gyms who collect lots and lots of memberships in January and then don’t have to provide services since many don’t follow through. I read somewhere a statistic about how few people actually follow through on New Year’s resolutions and it was abysmal.
I’ve never really understood the resolution thing at the first of January. Why then? It just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. What I’ve done for the past few years is to pick a word for the year.
My word for 2018 was JOY and that reminded me to find the joy in the every day moments, to look for joy in the moments that did not seem joyful. I meditated on that word for 2018 and found that if I truly looked for joy, I found it. I found joy even during the most difficult days. I read once that what is inside will spill out, so if you are an angry person, when tested anger will come out; that if you are joyful and hopeful, when you are stressed, that’s what will spill out. I’m still very angry about MBC and so many of the issues we have all faced this year in the world, but I’m working on filling up on good things so that’s what comes out.
For 2019, my word was EMBRACE. Those of you who know me and my midwestern bubble, all of the embracing and touching expected down here in Miami is such a stretch for me! I’ve gotten used to it so much that when I’m out of Miami, I lean in for the kiss or hug as a habit now. Made for some awkward exchanges when I was in San Antonio for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) in 2019, especially with some researchers from other countries, but also engendered some laughs. When we travel to Washington DC to advocate for key issues on Capitol Hill, our favorite stop is the Miami Congressperson’s office because they always have Cuban coffee available!
For 2020, my word was SACRED. Boy did I not know what I was getting myself into!! Only a few months into 2020, we learned about COVID-19 and the closures began. March came and we became immersed in virtual learning, which continued far longer than anyone anticipated. I watched as conference after conference I had intended to attend in 2020 was canceled or moved online. Elliot began working from home and initially was literally in the middle of the house and in the middle of the chaos created by two very active little boys. We have spent a LOT of time together as a family. Our living room couches and chairs became a parkour playground for the boys and every Zoom call I took had their heads bouncing the in the background. ZOOM!! I had never really heard of zoom before the pandemic and now it’s hard to remember what life was life before zoom. The summer came and went and school started again, online. When October came and the possibility of the kiddos going back to in person school arose, we decided that would be best for them. It has been wonderful for them to have that element of normalcy again. But the biggest gain I saw in 2020 was how close my boys have gotten and how much sacred family time we’ve had.
For 2021, my word is GRATITUDE. Picking a word of the year is always an adventure. Different words come to me and then I see them everywhere as I begin thinking about choosing one. I firmly believe that God brings to me what I need to be focusing on and He uses whichever word He brings me in ways I don’t anticipate. Whatever it is, I know that it will be an entertaining adventure that will stretch me beyond my wildest dreams!!
So long 2020 and hello 2021!!