2018 Planning: Word of the Year

On Wanting More

The week between Christmas and New Year, when I don’t really know what day it is—and don’t really care—is kind of my favorite. It’s one of the least stressful weeks of the year. Projects have been put to bed. The stress of Christmassing is over. And the only thing in front of me is the prospect of a new start. 

Okay, resolution doubters, I know that you can make a new start at any time you choose. April fifth, super. October twenty-ninth, even better. But I personally love the sparkling season. When the air fairly shimmers with all our collective hopes and dreams. When the liminal space between old and new gets all the focus. It’s in this week anything can happen. 

Magic, right? 

The past few weeks I’ve been going over 2017–business gains and losses, personal successes and failures—and this morning I really sat down to do some major, strategic work to prep for the new year. It was hard! Frustrating, scary, and a little overwhelming. So I do what I always do when I’m stuck on a plot point: I take a magic shower. (Plus, now that I chopped it all off, I really needed to wash my hair.) 

I went in to my shower really excited about the word I’d picked for 2018: soar. I’d been noodling around with a bunch of ideas, and finally went back to the first world I’d written down. I liked the feel of the word. And I could totally get behind the meaning—that I wouldn’t just be rising higher and higher or merely flying.

It gets windy out in west Texas. Real windy. And every year as the Canadian geese make their pilgrimage down here, I watch them. And it looks exhausting, flying. Fighting against all that wind. Trying to keep up with the flock. Constantly flapping wings and making sure you’re holding your spot. 

Flying is the pits. 

But soaring suggests exhilaration. That you’re feeling the wind as you ride it up and up and up. That you’re not fighting the wind, you’re mastering it, rising above it! (And in fact, that’s exactly what the etymology of the word would have us feel. Soar comes from exaurure in the Latin. ex- meaning out of and aura, the air.)

To soar is a beautiful thing. 

Hopes soar. Your heart soars when your crush smiles at you in homeroom. To soar means you’re riding on infinite possibility. Who wouldn’t want to soar? 

But as I played around with the word—the sound of it—my brain soon changed it to...more.

Oh. Yes. There it is. That’s what I want. More

But that’s a terrifying statement to make, even alone in the shower. We are taught to not want more. That it’s rude. Unseemly. Not feminine. Greedy. Ungrateful. And the list goes on and on.

As someone firmly in “The Little Mermaid” generation, I know that wanting more isn’t all fun and games. Wanting more tests you. Makes you choose between impossible choices. Requires you to have courage, ingenuity, spirit, and drive. Wanting more sometimes means you end up in a land of strangers with no idea how to behave. Wanting more sometimes means you end up in the middle of a massive storm with creepy ghost ships swirling all around you. 

And wanting more sometimes means you find true love. 

In 2018, I want more. 

I want to give more. Live more. Do more. Be more. 

But I also want to say no more. 

I want to believe in myself more. I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone more. And, yeah, I want to make more money. 

I want to write more, read more, travel more, and do more of what makes me happy. 

Why soar when you can have more? 

2018-word-of-the-year