A friend of mine asked on twitter the other day what your 2017 word of the year would be – and I thought for awhile and finally said: RESIST. Because I’ve been politically minded for a month now and it’s hard to think of anything else.
But then I thought about it a little bit. I still know that’s going to be an important part of my year…monitoring politics and lending my voice and my hand to resist changes I don’t support. However, that’s not what I want the year to be about. I would love to be optimistic that my resistance is only needed in small moments here and there, so maybe I should think of a more optimistic word.
And then I decided: Connections.
I would like to be more deliberate about taking moments to make making real connections with the people I’m interacting with. I’ve been working several years on being a better listener and this year I want to REALLY focus on that. I’ve gotten better about making sure I ask questions in conversations (that took about two years to train myself to do, I’ll be honest) but I still tend to get excited in conversation and think about what I want to say next. I want to enrich connections by being present and focusing on what the person is saying as they’re saying it.
I want to make sure I keep this in my mind with my family as well. I’m bad about giving my friends or new people more of my attention in conversation than I do my family. I would never sit and stare at my phone if I’m having a conversation with you – but I would do that with my husband and my kids. Which is terrible, I know.
I want to work on making sure any moment I’m connecting with someone – that moment and that person is what is holding my attention. Not my To Do list, not my social media feed, not my next engagement. This is not some sort of altruistic thing either, it’s really deeply selfish. I like the way real moments with people make ME feel. I want to try to enrich the connections I’m making with people because – as I’ve conquered a lot of my social anxieties – I really find I’m given new energy when I walk away from a good encounter. And on the other side of the spectrum, I feel terrible when I walk away and realize Shit. I bogarted that conversation. I want to make sure I’m allowing for real connections with people, everyone from the cashier at Publix to my trail running friends who I’ve met for a beer. Because they MAKE ME HAPPIER.
There are tons of other things I’m going to try to do this year, I want to focus on writing, I want to get my health back in check, I want to SELL THIS DAMN HOUSE (Inspection is today, please keep your fingers crossed for us) and I want to be very proactive in making this world better. There are specific items on my To Do list for the year and I’m packed full of resolutions. But – if I choose one word that I want to focus on for the year, it will be CONNECTIONS.
Here’s to enriching our lives by connecting to others. Welcome 2017.