I’ve seen some people, at the beginning of the year, choose a word that defines a focus for them. But I like to do things backwards.
In retrospect, I’d say the word of the year for 2015 was depth. It was a year full of a lot of changes, and a lot of introspection. Asking myself what it is that I truly want in life, what brings me joy, what habits are helping and hurting me really preoccupied my mind over the past twelve months.
It was a good, challenging run that forced me to stretch myself in ways I didn’t foresee. The biggest changes I see in myself are in how I relate to myself and others: a general increase in my self-confidence, accepting my me-ness, regardless of how often that changes, and trying to honor and do the same for the people around me.
I’ve spent a lot of time writing out lists of dreams, analyzing grief or frustration I hold on to and replicate within myself, and chronicling the names of people that I’m grateful for. It’s a good exercise. There are always more loving people in your life than you expect and, with a dash of honesty, you can find so many nuggets of wisdom and lessons in those special connections.
In the past year, I:
- I traveled to New Orleans, LA; St. Louis, MO; Portland, OR; Seville, Spain; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil; Park City, Utah.
- I bought a one-way ticket to Rome, Italy.
- I acquired dual Italian-American citizenship and finally got my mitts on a red passport.
- I’ve just about finished a one-a-day project and started a creative writing blog for myself where I’m going to publish a poem a day for 2016.
- I spoke at three WordCamps, including WordCamp Philadelphia, WordCamp Rio de Janeiro, and WordCamp US, as well as volunteering at WordCamp Europe.
- I subsequently discovered the wonders of pão de queijo.
- More importantly, one of my focuses at work on the Happiness Hiring team this year was to help with recruiting a localized support team for Brazilian Portuguese. We have some amazing new colleagues as a result of that effort now and I’m really excited about it.
- I tried a lot of classes that I didn’t stick with, but had fun nonetheless. Notable mentions include an art class at the Art Students League and Samba classes at Djoniba.
- I seriously culled my book collection. (Only two boxes left!)
- Finally finished up my tattoo of a typewriter and sunflowers. It took four sessions in total and was a cover up of a bad decision to get a very, very large NJ tattoo. (I still love NJ though.) I chose these items because, as a kid, I loved sunflowers passionately, as I did writing. It’s a reminder to stick with the things that make me happiest.
I’ve written out some goals for next year, a lot of which relate to my personal drive, long-term goals I’ve been aching to accomplish for years, but haven’t. On that list includes: move to Italy; publish a book of poems; visit Salvador, Mexico City, and Berlin; give a talk in another language; among other resolutions relating to finances and general self-knowledge/ living-life-to-the-fullest-ness.
I can’t predict what the next year will bring, but to guess a single word, I’d say bravery. Bravery in the sense of trying new things. Bravery in the sense of seeing things that scare you and walking forward into them anyway.
It’ll be good to meet you, 2016.
Photo: my 2016 Tarot Wheel, full of challenges and the ability to rise to the equation. Yup, bravery it is.