Here we are, once again at the start of a new year. I’ve always been a big believer in the power of setting an intention, and for the last few years I’ve traded my resolutions for a One Word 365. Here are my last few:
Globally, 2016 was strange and upsetting, but personally 2016 was a pretty good year. Despite new and unexpected illnesses that left me in agony and looking like I’d crawled out of a swamp, I enjoyed the second semester of my third year a lot – moreso than any other semester of my degree.
I studied under professors who have changed my life. I wrote my first poem, and was brave enough to share it with people (and later wrote ten others!). I made new friends and reconnected with old ones.
I got the opportunity to visit my family in Trinidad. My time there was pivotal in forging and redefining meaningful relationships with my family, and coming to terms with the weird limbo that comes from being mixed-race, from being part of a diaspora, from belonging to a culture that doesn’t claim me. I learned to embrace the people I love, the island, and myself during that trip.
I started the fourth and hopefully the penultimate year of my degree, and I started letting go of the idea that a degree has to take exactly three years to complete, that there is only one Right Way of doing things.
I learned how to take a challenge and turn it into a blessing. I took on my biggest freelance writing job of my career so far, and I have worked hard at my multiple jobs. I stopped eating meat, and started indulging in the occasional coffee.
I went to parties – and enjoyed myself! I celebrated my fourth anniversary with my partner, and find myself happier and more secure than I have ever been in this funny place called love.
To embrace is to take things as they are and hold them close, love them, accept them. I think I did a good job of that in 2016, but this year I need to do something more.
I’ve spent the last few years just trying to get through the day, and now I finally feel equipped to look further ahead. With that in mind, my One Word 365 for 2017 will be…
For Christmas, our lovely vlogger Lily gave me a Happiness Jar filled with 365 inspiring messages to open throughout the year. Today’s said this:
You need to set goals before you can reach them.
It seemed perfect. This year, I want to set my sights towards building my future.
In 2017, I intend to build:
- My degree. I love Linguistics, and I love English, and I love Glendon. I’ve learned that in order to both enjoy my degree and get good grades, I need to do less to do better. I need to make changes. I need to be more strategic and fearless, and I need to be less scared of not doing things the “normal” way.
- My career. I’ve been so fortunate to have had several amazing opportunities in my writing career already. This year, I need to prioritise the opportunities that set me on an upward trajectory.
- My relationships. Last year taught me a lot about my relationships – romantic, familial, platonic. I’m very lucky to have wonderful people in my life, and I’m also aware of my tendencies to manage them poorly. My love has taught me the power of honest communication and trust, my family has taught me a lot about commitment and unconditional love, and my friends have taught me so much about growth, bravery and creativity. These are all things I will explore and build on this year.
- My Self. The kind with a capital “S”. I’m very aware that from the outside, things probably seem pretty great, but I have so much work to do on the person I’m trying to be. There’s a big stack of life admin and adulting to get through. Plenty of room for improvement here, let me tell you. This is the part that causes me the most anxiety, but I know that I’m working on myself so I can contribute to my communities. “It starts with you”, “you can’t love someone else unless you love yourself” and all that.
This year dawned with me all smiles and hand in hand with someone I love dearly, on the precipice of a semester full of possibility. Here’s hoping that I end this year better than I began it.