An unusually well-dressed me.

It’s a personal tradition I do every year: Name a New Year’s Word. Not a resolution — but a word.

I’ve found this method to be extremely useful, because these words are kind of like my theme for the year. If I’m facing some sort of big decision — “should I quit my job?” for example — I ask myself what year it is. “Oh, it’s the Year of Evolution,” I’ll say, and that answers the question for me.

It’s an effective weather vane for small decisions, too. In 2009, I was going out a lot. Too much. So I made 2010 the Year of Balance, and when I faced a Friday night of, say, going to the Mohawk for the third time that week or staying home and making soup with Ross, I cried, “Year of Balance!” And later that evening, you’d find me hovering peacefully above a bowl of stew.

Here are the words I’ve chosen for the past three years:

2012: Evolution

2011: Openness

2010: Balance

They have all paid off in interesting ways.

You’ve heard about 2012 and 2010’s words, but in 2011, The Year of Openness, I discovered aerial silks, a practice that’s now become so sacred and special to me I have a hard time talking about it. I also tried other first-time novelties that year, because hey — I was open! Samba dance? OK. Apply to SXSW? You betcha. Buy a house? Well, why not.

The New Year’s Word is, in some ways, a way to avoid resolutions, which I love, but am bad at keeping. My goals only seem to exist in extremes, expressing themselves either in tiny, quotidian to-do lists, or writ large in the form of “big, vague, happy dreams” — to quote one of you.

But I suppose that’s enough pussyfooting around. What is my word for 2013?

2013: Create

I think it must be in the air, this urge to create. My pal Lauren wrote about a similar resolutionary thrust yesterday on CultureMap, and I’ve heard others echo it, too.

I’ll tell you the specific, personal forms this word is taking:

1. Build a private yoga studio at my house. Holy shit. I’m being serious! We’re straight up remodeling a portion of our house to be a wood-floored, many-windowed, peaceful little yoga sanctuary where I can teach private classes. Did I mention that we’re not rich? We’re not, but I had a few freelance gigs this year that allowed me to sock away some savings for it. And now we’re assembling a crew and pulling permits and BUILDING A FREAKING STUDIO.

2. To that end, I start yoga teacher certification training in a week and a half. Yay!

3. Write good stuff. I’m freelance writing full-time right now, and you guys. Whoa. I love it. I may be singing a different tune come tax time, but for the time being, I feel so utterly connected to my work in a way I hadn’t at any other job. Yes, I talk like a neanderthal sometimes when I go for whole days without leaving the house, but I get to choose my clients and work at my own pace and name my hourly rate and basically not hate myself. I’m still working on administrative things like, for instance, an invoicing system, but look — I have a website!

Anyway, in the creative aspect of writing, I want to keep on submitting my stories. To outlets I myself read, respect, and believe in. This time last year, I submitted my naked yoga story to Salon, and right now, I’m working on one about high school that I’m about to submit somewhere. At this rate, I’ll complete one story a year! Ha. Maybe in 2013, I’ll double my output to a whole two stories.

4. Aerial silks — perform. Like I said earlier, I have a hard time writing about aerial silks here on this blog. I’m not sure why, but Gabi suggested that perhaps it’s become a meditation. It’s taken on spiritual dimensions. Does this sound weird? Probably, but, I think she’s right.

I’ve danced intermittently since high school, but these past two years I’ve attempted to do it regularly, a few times each week: Mostly through silks, but also through other little groups and workshops — a little samba here, a little jazz or hip-hop there. Truth be told, I guess I don’t talk about it much here on the blog because performing, the chief expression of dance, still feels deeply personal/vulnerable/SCARY to me.

But, also sublime.

I had a silks performance a few weeks ago, and it was one of the most heart-burstingly beautiful experiences I’ve had in a while. This probably sounds so corny to any of you who perform on a regular basis — hello there, Austin musicians! — but for a lone writer/blogger person like me, who practices her craft in private with the assistance of a delete key, doing “live art” is a pretty big deal, I guess.

So what I’m saying is, I want more of that. To do silks in public. I am hooked! And while I’m still young(ish) and able, I’d like to keep climbing up cloths in front of you, because I sense something is being healed. Not a history of abuse or anything like that, but maybe just fear. Ah, our old friend — fear.

5. Family? Yow, I can’t believe I’m saying this here on the Internet, but we are kinda sorta maybe thinking about expanding our two to three (or rather, three to four, if you count Claudia).

Which is so awkward, right? Like, whenever any couple says, “we’re trying!” what they literally mean is: “we’re having sex!” And while all couples do that, it’s awkward for the listener to then go and think about it. That couple “trying.”

So, don’t think about it too much, but Ross and I are “considering” “trying.” By which I mean, Ross is ready, and I am neurotically holding things up until a magical genie visits me in my dreams and tells me that I am definitively ready and that yes, I will love pregnancy. In truth I am scared, physically, of pregnancy — and while that’s another post for another time, I’m also at the age now where a handful of my friends have been pregnant, and assure me it’s nothing to worry about. That in fact, it’s the most natural thing in the world.


There you have it! 2013, you are my Year of Create. Creating. Creation. I look forward to you so tremendously!

What’s your New Year’s Word, Reader?