One Word For 2014

“Perseverance is the ability to keep going in the face of continuous challenges. It is the ability to disregard distractions and to stay focused. – ” Catherine Pulsifer

We’re two weeks into January, but weirdly, it’s only just started feeling like a new year to me.

That’s probably partially because I never did anything big to celebrate. No parties, no champagne, no church (it’s a Caribbean thing..), nothing. January 1 just rolled in quietly during the middle of the night without any fanfare. Then it was two days of work and a snowstorm before I jetted off to Mexico.

Being out of the country, and away from home, has a way of making it feel like time has stopped, almost.

Since coming back this weekend, I’m finally able to embrace the new year. And while I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, January always has a sense of buzzing with energy. My natural tendency toward goal-setting is kicking into high gear.

I’m reminded of my school days when January was an opportunity for a fresh start mid-school year. The blank, pristine first page of my college-ruled notebooks was always a reminder of endless possibilities, and a literal invitation to “turn over a new leaf.”

The new year also traditionally brings reflection. It’s become a recent practice of mine to sum up each year with a theme. And if 2012 was the year of milestones, 2013 was the year of growth — the kind that comes in fits and starts, and with lots of growing pains.

In place of the giddy triumphs and wide-eyed wonder that came with 2012, last year was a sometimes unwelcome slap in the face that forced me to grow up quickly. As a lot of my dreamy ideas about the world collided with reality, I learned more than I did in my four years of college. 

Armed with this new knowledge, and a dose of cynicism, perhaps, I’m entering this year with a sense of cautious optimism. I have so many goals. And while 2013 taught me that not all of them will come easily, it did not quench my desire to accomplish them.

I have no idea what I’ll have to say at the end of 2014, but the theme I’ve chosen proactively for this year is focus. In as many ways as it can be interpreted — focus on achieving my goals, focus on relationships, focus on my career, focus on my blessings, and focus on my values. That means deciding what it is I want, and having a crystal clear image of that outcome, so that nothing can deter me (not to the exclusion of some fun, and more vacations of course!)

After all, it is up to each of us to create the life we want.

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