“One Word” for the New Year
Almost a year ago I was inspired by my sister’s blog post to think of just one word to sum up my goals or resolutions for the new year. I’m sure one that came to mind was “patience” because even as I get older and supposedly mellower, I still struggle with being impatient for things to happen more quickly, or to be different from how they are. But thinking I might quickly fail at “patience”, I chose instead: compassion. It was something I felt I had in me to some degree but linked as it is to patience in some ways, it was something there was certainly room to build my capacity for.
Jump ahead about six months. I’d recently come home from taking part in Word Play, a literary festival in Tatamagouche, and in the mail came a card, thanking me for coming and “for your wonderful readings. (People were especially moved by the combination of story and violin.)” Tucked inside the card was a “fabric favourite word by a Tatamagouche student”.
It was as if that student, or the person who chose that particular swath of fabric knew me! I searched my blog posts to see if I’d mentioned “compassion” earlier in the year, tipping someone off that this would be a good word to send me, but all I came up with was a post about yoga and the review page for What Happened to Ivy.
The student’s fabric word has sat beside me at my desk, on top of my printer, ever since, reminding me of my intention for the year. I keep meaning to frame it or make a little cushion out of it or something, but one thing I’m learning is that while it’s important to practice compassion toward others, it’s also important to practice compassion toward oneself.
A book I read this year suggested that if we said to our friends some of the things we say to ourselves, we probably wouldn’t have friends for long. Things like: Haven’t you done anything with that thing yet? Or, from a writer’s repetoire:
- You’ll never finish that book. Even if you do, no one will want to publish it.
- It’s not surprising you never win awards. Your writing is mediocre at best.
- Maybe you should quit writing and get a real job or take up macrame.
What will my word be for 2015? I might just stick with the same one. 2014 went by pretty fast and I could use more practice at “compassion” — for others and for myself.
What about you? What one word would you use to sum up your goals, resolutions, intentions for the new year?
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.