I’ve never done a “word of the year” before but I have seen it grow with increasing popularity through the social space, and with the looming arrival of the new year, I began to think about what my own word would be, were I to choose one. As of a few days ago, I decided upon it.
I’m a quiet girl who doesn’t like confrontation, attention, or causing any waves. I don’t jump head first into anything ever and I need to look both ways before taking a step out onto a new road. I am cautious and guarded, perhaps to a fault. I have an ample amount of patience, an otherwise trusted and important virtue, though I have found it can create a certain hindrance if assertiveness does not find a voice to overtake it when needed. And of all that, I am growing tired.
My word for 2018 is audacious. Not in the brash, obnoxious sense. In the confident, bold, daring sense.
New years are often symbolic for many people for the obvious reason of starting anew. It allows for a time of reinvention. However, I don’t buy into the idea of reinventing yourself. Where is the good in that? Improvement should be the end goal and I hope for that to be mine, as it has been in the past.
There are certain years that I can look back on and see a true turning point when things changed; when things improved.
In 2012 I graduated from high school and, GOD, was I so excited to get the hell out of there. I was ready to leave that town, most of the people, the girl I had become all behind. I was ready to move onto college and be able to be anyone I wanted; no longer confined by the labels and assumptions of high school. That was the year that I grew more than I arguably ever have. It was the year I finally did jump head first into the world of Ohio University, fell in love with the town of Athens, put myself out there, and met new people. It was the first time I can remember an entire year being truly and completely good.
In 2015 I welcomed the new year with the widest of arms. The prior year had been one for the books and I threw every damn chapter of it into the fire without hesitation. 2014 brought a year of let downs and being put second, and I was finally ready to be centered on myself in a way I had never been before. I tossed patience aside and welcomed the idea of a self-love centric view on selfishness; promising that from then on, my first priority and focus would be on what was best for me. I was looking to the future more than I ever had. And that was when everything started to feel as if it was falling into place. I met someone who I had convinced myself was simply not out there for me. I accepted my very first internship, in Chicago of all places, and did it all on my own accord. I spent that summer becoming more independent than I had ever been and went on to begin my senior year, finally falling completely in love with the major and career path I had chosen. In hindsight, if I could ask the gods above to stop time at any singular moment it would be the year of two-thousand-and-fifteen. It was the second time an entire year had proven to be truly and completely good.
When I look back on these years I could certainly spin a fantastic tale of the stars aligning and it being the year of the *insert Chinese New Year animal here.* Who knows? I certainly don’t understand the universe and whatever mystical powers lie beyond. What I do know is that I consciously and purposely had made a mindset change at the cusp of midnight on those fated New Year’s Eves. I wanted those coming years to be better than the previous ones. I was ready for something different and I was prepared to do whatever was necessary to make that happen. Inevitably, different is what I got, and I got it in the most fantastical of ways.
With 2017’s departure and a new year upon us, I feel that mindset change again. Parts of 2016 and 2017 were good, great even. There are good parts to any year, and no year will compare to the dumpster fire that was 2014 (fingers crossed), but I am not sad to see this time in my life begin to filter out. It has been filled with uncertainty, unanswered questions, and lack of direction. I feel a new sense of clarity and purpose and feel myself coming into my own again, as I did during the aforementioned years.
I have no idea what this year will bring. I hope for another year of truly and completely good. I pray there is not another 2014 approaching quick on my heels. But that’s not up to me. I cannot predict the future and I certainly cannot bargain with those mystical powers that lie beyond. I can only ensure that I aim my feet in the surest of directions I wish to travel on this journey I am ready to take. I can only ensure that I begin showing up for life and refuse to be a fixture on the sidelines.
And I am telling you, this is it. I can feel it. This is the year to jump head first. This is the year for the bold; the year for the daring.
This year is for the audacious.
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd