one little word
I’m not a fan of resolutions, especially at the turn of the calendar year.
You know the kind: weight loss and exercise promises that have more people at the gym on this day than any other; ideas for healthier eating; more time spent with family, spouse, children, friends; more balanced time between work and home; more money in savings or donated to charity… more, more, more.
I understand the benefits of starting a new program aimed at achieving a goal. I understand the need to put some fanfare on it, to announce it so that our support systems will hold us accountable, to make it concrete. I understand that repetition is what cements a new habit, trains the brain to expect the new behaviour, makes it a part of our routine.
I just don’t feel the need to do it to for myself.
Aside from all that, I still think of the new year as starting in September, with each new school year. Between all my years at school (and back at school), and then Kristina’s, and maybe mine again (later), I expect September – with its crisp leaves, blue skies, sharpened pencils, and new-notebook smell – will continue to be my New Year.
So, I have mostly ignored the posts about resolutions.
Until I saw that Karen Walrond, of Chookooloonks, wrote a post over at blogHer on Artists’ Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions. Choices? Options? An alternative way to approach this? Yes, I followed that link – pronto.
I read about Ali Edwards’ One Little Word. Before I clicked through, or visited Ali’s site, or read any of her posts – just from what Karen wrote, my one little word came to me, unbidden. In fact, when it first came, I resisted it a little. Really? I wanted to send it back, but it wouldn’t go.
Not nurture, which I might have more expected. Nourish. Not play. Or create. Or stir. Or write. Or cultivate. All verbs. Hmmm…
Or how about imagination? Or story. Or compassion. Or honesty. Or filter. Or wish. Or fireworks. Or for goodness’ sake, completion. (First draft, anyone?)
Finally, I let the word in a little. I showed it a not-too-comfortable chair to sit on while I got out my dictionary (or in this case, dictionary.com). And then I began to understand.
1. to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth
2. to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.
3. to strengthen, build up, or promote
This is a year of high creativity for me: this blog (with a new M/W/F schedule), the photo blog (with a new T/Th/Sa schedule), the first draft (nearing completion) of my YA manuscript, the ideas stumbling over each other to be the next writing project, .
And then there are the things I am doing with others: an increasing number of invitations to behave like a ‘real’ photographer, College Corps (continuing next fall), a new after school English project with seniors who are struggling to graduate in June, an in-the-high-school one-on-one mentoring program, the SCBWI conference in New York, college visits with my daughter, and a trip to visit my sister in Sweden this summer.
When I look at all that, I realise that I am going to be doing – and needing – a lot of nourishing. I like that nourish is a verb – this will be an active year. And at the same time, part of being nourished will mean that I make time for not doing: for rest, for play and magic and wonder.
Nourish it is then. This word will live on my desk, and will filter into my conversations, dreams, and decisions this year.
I am interested to see what I think of it at the other end of the year.
listening to: Audrey II (Little Shop of Horrors), Feed Me (Git it)