Every year, in January, I struggle to find the word that will guide me through the New Year. Most of the time, before February rolls around, I either forget what word I chose or the word I picked just doesn’t resonate with me anymore.
This year is no different.
I started with CREATE.
Who can argue that’s not a great word? I mean, who doesn’t want to immerse themselves in a year dedicated to creating and making things?
Yet, at the last minute, I discarded the word CREATE.
Why, you ask?
Well, I decided that if wanted to be true to myself, I would have to recognize that it just felt fake.
Not that I don’t want to create things or that I don’t typically create anything because I do.
As a teacher-writer, I am always creating.
I create lesson plans.
I write feedback for students.
I reflect in my teacher journal.
I write for my students.
I create and publish blog posts.
I am a creator.
But this is not the word I think should guide my year; it didn’t grab me or find me like I’d hoped it would.
It didn’t feel authentic.
So, I put it aside.
And, the other night, as I tossed and turned in my sleep, other words started seeping through my consciousness.
And, then I realized that I didn’t have to just have one word. I could have many words.
I almost climbed out of bed to write down those three words in my notebook. Instead I kept repeating them to myself, over and over again, in the hopes that when I woke up in the morning they’d be the first words I’d utter to myself.
Well, it worked!
I wrote them in my notebook and later looked for synonyms.
What I discovered is that each of these three words – evolve, change and grow – appear in each other’s lists of synonyms.
I knew then that I’d hit on the right set of words. Next, I chose the one that I thought could guide everything I do this year: EVOLVE.
Every month, I will choose a different word to focus on because having one for the year is just too overwhelming and doesn’t work for me. If the word I chose for a particular month feels like it should continue into the next month, who am I to argue with that feeling? I will keep it until it has served its purpose.
So, my word for January is SHIFT. That in and of itself could be someone’s #OLW. But I’m going to take it slowly. I will find ways to shift my teaching, my thinking about myself, my thinking about others, my advocacy work and my relationships. Just to name a few! LOL!
I see so much in my life that could benefit from a slight shift here or there. So much work that I still need to do on myself.
In fact, I’ve already seen a shift in the way I engage with the challenges of teaching online.
Just a slight shift.
But it’s really all that is needed to evolve.
Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge.