Another year, come and gone.
It’s funny because as a blogger, I mark so much of my success with time. Visitors per month, income per month, recurring annual posts like my 40 Before 40 series and my favorite meals or photos of the year.
Yet each December I feel somewhat unpleasantly surprised when one year winds down and another comes barreling along.
The History of Yearly Mantras
For the past two years, I’ve joined my friend Malia from Shoyu Sugar in choosing a ‘word of the year’ or mantra to guide my efforts and intentions. In 2016, my word was ‘minimize,’ and in 2017, I chose the word ‘muse.’ While each year, my yearly mantra hasn’t exactly taken the form I’d expect, it’s been an interesting hallmark of the year.
For example, in 2017, I thought muse would guide my creative efforts and endeavors; in reality, I learned to surrender to creative curiosity and accept more structured projects (like my job) when they presented themselves to me. Sometimes, I was in control of the muse, and sometimes she exerted more control me.
Looking Back on My Yearly Mantra to Muse
Last year, I made some hypotheses for what muse might look like in a concrete way:
- Continue writing on this blog and sharing stories from around the world.
- Finish writing a book I started writing in September.
- Continue freelance writing and publishing with travel magazines and sites.
- Embrace my new role as managing editor at Go Overseas, and cultivate a culture that encourages my writers to do their best work.
Some of these projects came to fruition; some stepped out of my spotlight; others not on this list became much bigger priorities than I expected.
I definitely did a lot of blogging here, and on my website, Space Tourism Guide. I did not finish writing my blog, and I was much less active in freelance writing. While in January 2017, my role as Managing Editor was a contract, part-time, remote role, in January 2018, I am full-time in-office employee for Go Overseas.
These opportunities – to work and to give up other kinds of work – required a bit of surrendering on my part. Sometimes, I had to accept the opportunities I didn’t know whether I really wanted, and hope that they would produce something greater than I could foresee. (It usually did!)
In short, both definitions of muse came true: “the source of inspiration for a creative artist” and “be absorbed in thought.” I thought and worked and was inspired. In its way, muse was the right word for 2017.
Deciding on my Yearly Mantra for 2018
As usual, I haven’t really known what my yearly mantra might be. I’ve considered many words…
As you can see, my thoughts have turned toward health and wellness and my relationships. While I’m doing great at work, life isn’t just about work. I want to practice better wellness (I am in my 30s, after all!), and I want to be stronger, both physically and emotionally. I want to take better care of myself and the people I care about – and my relationships with them. Each of these words, like contenders from other years, was right in some ways – but not all ways.
My Yearly Mantra for 2018: Balance
In the end, one word stood out to me over and over. It came up as I thought about self-care. And my relationships. And my work.
This word stuck out to me, as muse did, for its multiple definitions:
noun: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions
verb: offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another
In many ways, I need more balance in my life. I work a lot, but I also want to balance my full-time work and responsibilities with my personal passion projects. I want to balance personal time, work time, time with friends, and time with Mr. Valise. I want to work on my health and wellness, and balance that with the permission to indulge from time to time.
I’m sorta hoping, as in years past, that the word I choose will as much guide me as shape me and my life in 2018.
What I Predict Balance Will Mean in 2018
As in years past, I want to set some concrete ways I think balance will manifest in the coming year:
- I predict I’ll get better at setting a semi-consistent schedule for work and non-work time.
- I want to balance work and time which is truly not work (something I’m not good at!).
- I’ll get way better at standing poses in yoga, and possibly add a few inverted poses to my repertoire.
- I will balance more doing and measuring the impact of what I’m doing. In most projects, I have a tendency to get caught up in the data and not do any work.
- I’ll work on better balancing my health, particularly focusing on getting better hydrated each day.
I’m sure there are other ways I will find balance, and I’m planning to put a sticky note in both of my main workspaces with BALANCE on it. (As a friendly reminder.)
So that’s it from me. What are your resolutions or mantras for the new year?