I like to start off each new year with a word. This can be any word but should be something meaningful that encourages you to begin a new year. With all the unexpected events faced in the year 2020, this was a particularly challenging year to choose my word. Of course, we all look forward to a new year for many reasons and approach each one with positivity. Whether this means a new gym membership, spending more time with family, or dieting, change is usually accompanied with desires for a new year.
A new year brings hopefulness, renewal, peace and motivation for a better future. Hopefulness that this virus will be defeated. Hopefulness that I can hug my grandparents again soon. Hopefulness that we will no longer be afraid of standing close in proximity to complete strangers. Hopefulness that I can have the wedding of my dreams in May, that I have been planning since I was a little girl.
Renewal in our mind and bodies. Renewal in our beliefs, whether they be spiritual or non-spiritual. Renewal in our relationships with estranged siblings or long-lost friends. Renewal in our patience with children, co-workers & pets.
Peace that the challenges of 2020 were out of our control. Peace that healthcare providers, scientists and world leaders are working diligently to move us forward. Peace that family is everything and that is why we must protect each other. Peace that you cannot control other people’s feelings. Peace that we will get through this.
Motivation to eat a healthier diet and exercise more frequently. Motivation to love myself so that I can be my best version for my fiancé. Motivation to study hard so I can graduate top of my class. Motivation to care for my patient’s as if they were all my family. Motivation to love others regardless of their political, social, religious beliefs. Motivation to wear a mask all the time to protect myself and others. Motivation to wake up every day and treat it as an opportunity for growth.
These are all excellent words that I contemplated using as my “muse” for the year 2021. However, I decided to go with gratitude. Gratitude is a word that has many meanings and never goes out of style. Gratitude for my mind & my body. Gratitude for the fact I have been blessed in many ways. Gratitude for having a roof over my head and food on my table. Gratitude for my sweet dogs & their unconditional love. Gratitude that I am in school to pursue my dream career. Gratitude that I can live in a country where I am free and not persecuted for my beliefs.
Gratitude for my mistakes because without them I would not be who I am today. Gratitude for myself and all of my imperfections. Gratitude for my anxiety because I can now normalize talking about mental health with others. Gratitude for those who love to me & have always celebrated my accomplishments. Gratitude that this pandemic has allowed me to solidify relationships in ways that I would not have been able to otherwise. Gratitude for progress not perfection.
While there are approximately 171,000+ words in the English language, I encourage you to discover one to live by this year. This should be a word that is applicable to many instances in your own life and should not be out of reach. This is meant to bring about a sense of change and growth in a positive way. I am actively working on my gratitude in the year 2021 & I hope you find your “word” as well. Stay safe, stay sane & keep writing.