#OneWord365: Honour

Happy 2018! I’ve long given up on new year resolutions in lieu of setting an intention for the year based on a single word — a tradition that many of the eAmbassadors will be writing about this month. The word serves as a guiding post, a point of reference for the year, a mantra to base your choices and perspectives on. You can read about my past words here:

Last year, my word was build. Throughout the year, I felt the pressure of the word I’d picked for myself. This was the year to hustle, to create, to pluck myself from the ashes, to prove myself. These were the intentions I set out to build, with a review of how I did:

  • My degree. In early 2017, I actually ended up changing my major. I love linguistics, but I found myself far more engaged and interested in the sociocultural side of linguistics than the theoretical fundamentals — which are, of course, vital to the study of the discipline and required courses. During an appointment with my academic advisor, he asked me how I was enjoying my minor in English, and I lit up. We talked a little about my career plans and the kinds of Masters programs I’m interested in, and he pointed out that I could still take the linguistics courses I enjoy through the English department, while embracing the part of my degree I liked the most. After going over the logistics, we made the decision that I would switch to majoring in English. It was a change that made total sense, and I’ve been so much happier since. At first, I worried that people would think that linguistics had been “too hard” and that I was “downgrading”, but ultimately the decision has made me a better and more fulfilled student — and I have no need to justify it. Thanks to the five weeks I spent in the Explore program in Nova Scotia, I’ve also started to regain my french after suffering memory loss.
  • My career. I’ve been so fortunate to have had several amazing opportunities in my writing career already. This year, I landed a couple of amazing freelance opportunities (one came about from taking part in a panel for mature, international and transfer students at Glendon!) but I also ended up working multiple jobs during exam season. I learned that while it’s important to work hard and build my career, it can be destructive to pile on too much. Since, I’ve decided to take a break from freelancing, do one job well, and focus on enjoying the last bit of my degree. (Oh, I also started writing creatively with more intent and direction — and landed my first paid poetry publication!).
  • My relationships. This year brought me so many incredibly important relationships. I’ve met people who changed my life, and I’ve deepened existing relationships, some of which I’d never expected would become so important. I’m also becoming more aware of which relationships I need to nurture and which to relinquish.
  • My Self. The kind with a capital “S”. I took steps to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. I took risks this year and watched them yield bounty. I left 2017 perhaps in the best place I’ve ever been in regards to my body image. I left 2017 aware of my flaws, and with an understanding of how I need to change.

With all this in mind, I’m taking a different approach to 2018. I placed a lot of pressure on myself, and in seeking that, I lost my way. This year, my One Word 365 will be…

HONOUR

This word took a while to decide upon. It took long conversations with people closest to me, who know me best. I chose it because it reminded me of this poem by Lucille Clifton:

There was a small temptation to choose Celebrate as my word for the year, but it didn’t feel quite right. As someone who is so deeply immersed in words, having studied semantics, pragmatics, and literature, choosing one small word is a huge effort.

I chose Honour for many reasons. It encapsulates a sense of reverence, acceptance, and uplift. It is something that I can centre myself on in good moments and in bad. After a year where I felt like I was constantly punishing myself for my shortcomings, it feels time to invite some honour into my life. In changing the way I think and ground myself, maybe I can change my habits and perspectives too.

In Honour, I look to find reverence and acceptance in how things are now. Someone I met this year spoke the words “don’t wish your time away”, which is something I’m guilty of and hope to unlearn.

In Honour, I intend to identify and remember my values (something I’m learning from Juan Garrido) and to centre grace, justice, community, gentleness, and collaborative growth in my behaviour and habits.

In Honour, I intend to be grateful for my blessings and graceful in my hardships.

In Honour, I intend to lift up, protect, and love the people I encounter.

In Honour, I intend to protect myself from my own self deprecation, which too often strays into self hatred.

In Honour, I intend to care for my body — which includes feeding it, exercising it, forgiving it, and advocating for myself in medical settings.

As the course of the year unfolds, I know it will bring about as much change as the years before. Like previous years, I’ll continue to check in with myself and ask how I’m incorporating my word for the year into the situation. Am I honouring myself? Am I honouring my loved ones, my opportunities, my communities, and my values? How can I bring a positive impact to a situation?

May you find a word that guides you this year, and may 2018 bring you prosperity and richness tenfold.

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