My New Year’s Word 2012.

Every New Year’s, I do a little thing called the New Year’s Word.  It’s a movement – my own personal movement – away from New Year’s Resolutions, which never really work for me (or I suspect, anyone).
Why the New Year’s Word?  Because it is an anchor in decision-making.  Every time I’m waffling on some kind of personal choice, I think about my New Year’s Word, and blam: Decision made.  For example, in 2010, my word was “balance.”  When deciding whether or not to hang onto my fun but time-consuming freelance writing gigs, I asked myself: “what would a balanced person do?” And just like that, I quit them all.  
But in 2011, I chose quite a different word.    

As a result of my 2011 New Year’s Word – openness – some really rad things swept into my life.  Don’t I sound so The Secret?  My behavior didn’t change (I swear I only made one vision board) but, like the year previous, each time I had a choice to make I landed on the side of my word.  What would an open person do?

Here’s what an open person does: 

*Buys a house.  In January, Ross floated the idea of looking for a home.  “Like, to buy?”  I asked.  “Yes,” he said.  It sounded so unfathomably adult.  But you know what?  By April, we owned one.  Our first one
*Joins Cirque du Soleil.  Ok ok, so I’m not in Cirque yet, but after years of fantasizing I finally signed up for aerial silks classes.  I took my first one last January, and I haven’t stopped.  It’s bizarre how into it I am.  I even BOUGHT a silk that I’m going to try and hang in my back yard somehow.  You think I’m joking! 

*Tries samba. Continuing the dance theme, when Ross suggested checking out Austin Samba School this year (as we are both obsessed with Brazil),  I said, “I’m open to it.”  You guys, nothing has made me feel more hopelessly white.  My pelvis is positively blushing.  It cannot believe the things I’m asking it to do!  But looking awkward, jerky, and totally white girl for a while is worth it, because let me tell you something, samba dancers know how to d-r-e-s-s.  Our “school” is actually more of a performance troupe, with 50 drummers and 50 dancers (Ross is on the drumming side), and for our shows we don these wild costumes.  Think high camp: Sequins, body paint, high heels, feathers, headdresses, the works.  We make Ru Paul look like Ann Taylor: LOFT.  Needless to say, I love it.  (PS, we are performing at Carnaval in February if you live here in Austin.)

*Talks to artists. I started doing this series on the blog called The Eavesdropper Interviews, which is a simple Q&A with creative types.  My very first one was with the famed Newspaper Blackout author, Austin Kleon, and these little Q&A sessions inspired my friends and I to try this concept out on video!  (More on that really, really soon.)

Maybe it was talking to all those artists, but this year I actually got up the guts to work more seriously on my own art, too: Writing.  Offline writing.  Pieces prepared for outlets I respect and adore, outlets that run creative nonfiction. When deciding if I should submit or not because I was scared of rejection, I said to myself: “I guess I’m open to that possibility, too.”  Good thing, because I did get rejected.  But I got a piece of writing accepted, also.

Now I’ve got a new word.  And admittedly, I cheated a little bit: I’ve had months to think about it.  Back in October my friend Camille had a mock “New Year’s Brunch” party at her house for an shoot (fancy!) and it came to me then …

Evolve!  That’s my word for 2012. 
I’ve cut things out that didn’t matter (2010, Year of Balance), I’ve folded in things that do (2011, Year of Openness), and now I want to focus and develop those sacred areas of my life.  Which include the lofty and ambitious (evolving into a better writer, wife, and friend) to the somewhat silly (evolving the living room decor).  See also: Photography, blogging, dance, knowledge of Austin’s yoga studios, knowledge of Austin’s bars, my computer’s hard drive, my mental reference library of red wine, the state of our front yard, my relationship with my next door neighbor, my relationship with the universe, and my relationship with Twitter.  
What is your word?  Please feel free to share!  I called the New Year’s Word my “personal movement” earlier, but really, it’s a movement for everyone.  Resolutions are hard.  Words are magical.  Just ask my pelvis.

(Photos: All by me accept for the house photo, via Miwa.  Also I should clarify that that is NOT our house but I wish it was.)
UPDATED 12/31/11: OH MY GOD this is so exciting.  Here’s that video I was mentioning earlier with Camille at her house.  Look whose word makes a special cameo at the very end!