2016 in four words


At the end of last year, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the past 12 months. I had the idea of coming up with single words that described the year. It was easy to do because 2015 was intense. That intensity resulted in a lot of personal growth, so reflecting felt natural.

2016, however, has been the opposite. This year has felt anti-climatic and normal, so it’s hard to reflect upon.

(I should specify that it’s felt this way on a personal level only. On a worldwide cultural and political level, 2016 has been everything but anti-climatic and normal. But I don’t understand all that’s happening in the world. So I’m just going to reflect on my 2016 for now.)

I haven’t posted anything on here in six weeks. I’m in a weird paradox where the stuff I’m working through isn’t stuff I’m willing to share, and the stuff I’m willing to share is just plain boring.

But in an effort to reflect on the year, and my compulsive need to keep traditions going, here are four words that capture 2016 for me.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic changed the game for me. I read it twice in two weeks and wrote a lot of posts inspired by it. I learned I am creative simply because I love to create. I learned to make time for creativity, and the result of most creative activities probably won’t be awesome. And that’s really okay, because the result isn’t what matters.

There have been times this year where my current situation and my desired situation do not overlap on the Venn diagram, times where I want to roll those two circles into each other so that more area is overlapped. I’m learning to be content when the overlap is just a sliver, and to be patient. I have a long way to go with this one.

My overactive imagination draws up scenarios for my life. When and how I should get married, how a big trip should play out, the direction that my career path should go. Sometimes I hold onto those too tightly and I can’t wrap my head around the scenarios going any other way. But I’m trying to loosen my grip and reconfigure these scenarios. Sometimes the reconfigured scenarios are better than I imagined, other times they’re just a different version that’s completely and beautifully okay.

Joy feels different than happiness. I think happiness can be a general state of being, while joy is a peaked blip of something more than happiness – fleeting moments where I can’t be still. My shoulders bob up and down, I smile so much it hurts, my stomach tingles (in a good way). I’m sure scientist would call this adrenaline or some kind of chemical release. Regardless, I’ve pinpointed these moments and can embrace them while I’m in them – wandering the streets of Sydney, watching the Tonys, my brother’s wedding.

There’s my 2016 in four words:

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