One Word

This is the second year I’ve accepted a word to guide me through the year. It’s taken me about two months to settle on a word for 2018. I knew I needed something to build on last year, which was Connect. Choosing connect was easy. I had been living in a new town a little over a year and making friends turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I wanted to connect more with people in the local community on a daily basis.

I had also started working on a second master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) through a university in Lithuania. I spend a few weeks in Lithuania in the summer, but the remainder of the year is online. I knew the online format might be a little challenging for me, and I wanted to connect with the other students in my cohort. I also went back to teaching after a fairly long break, and I wanted to connect with my students. And of course I wanted to continue connecting with my family and existing friends.

As 2017 drew to a close and I started reflecting on a word for 2018, I felt that I wanted to go deeper with connections. Yes, I met more people. I made some new friends, but many of the relationships weren’t as rich as I longed for. I know it takes time and consistency to build relationships. As I thought about what I really wanted, Community and Relationship both came to mind. They both hold elements that I’m looking for.

Community feels like the bigger picture I long for. I want to be more grounded in my local community. I also want to deepen my connections with my global community. I would like to find an online community, and a writing community. Also a spiritual community that feels comfortable.

Relationship feels like the way to get to community. Without relationships, there is no community.

The dilemma: process or product? For the past two years I’ve done the Unravel Your Year workbook, which suggests having one main word and four supporting words. I like how this approach allows for flexibility and support of the main word.

Yet I couldn’t settle which was the main and which was the support. Two weeks into the new year and I couldn’t decide. My friends who also use a guiding word had theirs chosen, but I kept waffling. It didn’t feel right one way or the other. And it has to feel right to me or it just won’t work.

Over the weekend, another word came to me: Opportunity. In order to develop more community, I need opportunities. I need to recognize when an opportunity arises. I need to seek opportunities. I need to act on opportunities. Another process word. This clinched it.Community

Community is my word for 2018. Relationship and Opportunity are supporting words. I’m not sure what the other supporting words are yet, but they will appear.