This year is going to be a great year, if for no other reason than I’m turning 40, and I plan to be obnoxious about it – even more obnoxious than I usually am. I already celebrate for a whole week. This year, I’m celebrating the whole year. I almost made “forty” my OneWord365. The only thing that stopped me is that there aren’t many songs that fit that theme, and I’m going to need a playlist.
But it’s totally in the back of my mind. It’s going to be a focus, even if it’s not the main focus. I can just tell.
As with every year, I have writing goals, reading goals, and one word that will be my theme of the year.
1. Write an average of 5,000 words toward a work in progress per week. That’s 5-10 hours a week. That’s 260,000 words. That’s finishing Feast and Fishbowl and getting a good chunk of another project, whatever it will be, off to a good start.
2. On the blog, I’d like to continue some series, start some new ones, and get some more guest posts. I would like to consistently post three times a week, even in weeks when I’m feeling quiet, which means writing posts ahead of time and getting them scheduled. I just want to be more organized and intentional about it.
Reading – three sets of 40:
1. 40 books by people of color. In examining the diversity of my influences (friends, music, things I read, etc.), I do okay in most areas. My blog reader is especially diverse; only about 20% of the bloggers I read are white/straight/middle-class/etc. You know – me-ish. There is room for improvement across the board, though, and nowhere is this more obvious than in my book list from 2014, which is remarkably whitewashed. This year, I am going to be more intentional about diversifying my reading list, and I’m going to start with race as the diversifying factor.
2. 40 classics. Every time I see lists of 100 pieces of classic literature that pop up (you know the ones – the braggy ones that show up on your well-read friends’ Facebook pages that encourage you to compare your reading list to theirs), I can’t even say that I’ve read a majority of them. And I know that comparison is the thief of joy, but I also suspect that when I watch The Newsroom, I would probably enjoy it more (assuming that’s even possible) if I had a better grasp of Don Quixote. I also know that reading works that stand the test of time will assist in teaching me to write works that stand the test of time, and I am very much interested in that.
3. 40 miscellaneous books – just for fun. I am including a third category to pay homage to all those books I read as part of book clubs and lazy days off and other such times. I also think that fun is an important element of reading, particularly this year, because fun is my word of 2015.
Theme – fun:
My first thought when choosing my one word for this year was “responsible.” After all, I just spent a year chasing beauty. Gorgeous, lovely, magical beauty. So my reaction to that was that I should follow it up with something more serious. Something to bring me back down to earth. Not that I ever left, really. It turns out, down on earth, it’s actually quite beautiful.
But I have goals for the year. Practical goals. Goals that require focus. Goals that require structure. Goals that embrace the quotidian (which is a word I also love, but for very different reasons).
The problem I kept running into when thinking about any of these words as my theme for the year is that I associate them with boredom. I think of them as dull. Lifeless. Scarce. What I hear is “Reign it in,” as if I haven’t done enough of that in my life already.
Also, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I’m turning 40 this year. I am happy to be turning 40, because I have earned every year. I’m going to herald in this milestone. There might actually be trumpets involved.
There will probably come a year when I want to reclaim sensible words and focus on them, because they’re not bad words. There’s nothing inherently scarce about them. I just don’t think this is that year.
I considered making “Renaissance” my word. It encompasses both practicality and beauty, knowledge and art, form and function. But while I can definitely see all sorts of things being incorporated into my year (because learning is delightful), I can’t see it providing the sort of focus I’m going for.
This is a year for celebration. For a bit of decadence. For carousing and merriment and revelry. For indulgence. For liberality.
Fun is so simple that I have the urge to pick another word for it. Merriment is a good word. Hullaballoo. Hoopla.
I don’t want to hide behind the word itself, though. As fun as “fun” sounds, it’s not actually easy for me to do. It is much more like me (especially in the last ten years or so) to slip into that person who plans a great theme party and throws so much energy into planning and execution that I’m exhausted by the time the day of the party arrives. As you might imagine, parties aren’t so fun for me when I’m tired of them before they ever begin (reason #1 that I probably will hire a wedding planner if I ever get married, but that’s another blog post altogether).
So I’m keeping the plan – and the word – simple. Fun.
Are you setting New Year’s Resolutions? If so, what are they?