It’s impossible to get through late December and early January without hearing talk of resolutions, weight loss, self-improvement, and budgets. Even though I find myself rolling my eyes at the fleeting once-a-year ambition, and most of it is forgotten by Groundhog Day anyway, it’s hard not to get hopeful and dreamy on January 1.
The best part about resolutions is that there is so much room for creativity and personalization, beyond the usual “lose ten pounds” or “stop watching Jersey Shore.” Thought Catalog suggests twenty resolutions for twenty-somethings. My brilliant and artistic best friend Roxanne is planning to measure her year in photographs, one for each day of 2012. My boyfriend’s mother told me about a man who resolved last year to write a thank you note to someone every day of the year, and how monumentally this changed his life and his relationships. The possibilities are endless.
A couple years ago, aforementioned brilliant and artistic best friend introduced me to the less conventional New Year’s tradition of selecting one word that will encapsulate your upcoming year. My word for 2011 ended up being comically off-base, but I decided not to give up on the whole idea just yet.
For 2012, I chose a term that gives me some permission, some forgiveness, and some freedom: self-trust.
Now I don’t mean trusting every thought that passes through my mind. I’m well aware that there is a crazy woman living in my head who’s sole purpose is to generate anti-me propaganda. If I listened to her, I would believe that I’ll never find a job again after my travels and probably be homeless forever, that I totally look like I’ve gained fifteen pounds since Christmas, and that every airplane I board is destined to crash (about which, on one occasion, she wasn’t completely off-base). Crazy Woman should definitely not be trusted.
When I talk about self-trust, I mean the self that runs deep and quiet and speaks to you without words. It’s easier to ignore than the Crazy Woman voice in the short-term because it’s not as loud, but it’s far more persistent in the long-term. This is the self that speaks in intuition. It’s how I knew my last job wasn’t right for me. It’s how I decided to travel this year. It’s how I know what and whom I love.
My first nod to self this year is the decision to indefinitely postpone my trip to Asia, and to follow my new-found love of South America right back down there. Instead of going to Thailand as initially planned, I will live and study in Cartagena, Colombia for two months. Cartagena: the setting of Gabriel García Márquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera; a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and, as my boyfriend astutely pointed out, the first stop Johnny Depp’s character makes in the movie Blow after being released from prison. Thank you for that, darling.
As in Lima, I will be volunteering in Cartagena, but as an extracurricular to my primary goal of studying Spanish. I got a taste of the language in Peru and now I’m hooked. My inner perfectionist won’t let me off said hook until I master it.
I leave this Saturday. Time to re-pack the suitcases I just finished unpacking and practice hushing inner Crazy Woman in favor of quiet intuitive self. Happy 2012!
Tell me, what is YOUR word (or resolution, or habit, or color) for 2012? No, really, tell me. In the comments. Please?