Last year around this time, I dubbed 2011 the year of flight. I meant that in all positive respects. Literally, I wanted to take off and explore more of the world. Metaphorically, I wanted to escape my comfort zone. The overall goal was to not be bound to anything too familiar that limited my potential.
Well, I flew for sure. If 3 months romping around Europe teaching English to Italian kiddies and going broke doesn’t fulfill the free-spirited vow I made to myself, then maybe next time I’ll go to Tibet and become a monk.
What I learned while living out of a suitcase is that no matter how hard I try, I’m not a minimalist traveler. My oversized luggage will forever label me that girl with too much ‘baggage’. I’m pretty sure my suitcase caused me more trouble than even my lack of Italian with all the times I had to check that damn thing in ‘baggage deposit’.
More importantly, I spent a lot of time in 2011…lost. While navigating the streets of Europe, I constantly faced the question: zig or zag? With no smart phone to turn to, I was left with no other option but to zig and zag. 3 hours later, with the original destination still nowhere in sight, I settled for hidden gems in unknown territory. When you’re hungry, everything is delicious. You learn to enjoy the scenery regardless.
Back in the States, I did the same. I zigzagged between life paths. Zigging toward Teach for America one month, then deviating toward 30 Rock in pursuit of their page program, zagging toward a startup venture back in Gainesville, and finally jetting off to New York for what remains to be seen. I mulled over each prospect deeply, so deeply that I emerged out of the maze of my mind less sure about the original intent. And with a glorious headache.
2011 was the year of flight because I took off and jumped from city to city with no set direction. And honestly, that’s what I wanted. I neglected to build a mental map because I wanted the freedom to go without one. Also, I didn’t know where I wanted to go. But now I think I know.
For my 2012 theme word, I debated between words like intent, care, and focus. My thinking was that I once was a flighty bird, now it’s time to build a nest. Think of my intent. Handle everything with care.
But what am I? A nesting bird? There’s a time and place for everything. I don’t believe that 2012 calls for nesting, settling or more thinking. The biggest challenge now is to actually take the plunge. Move forward.
2011 was a year of zigs and zags, arrivals and departures, flights. Since May, I haven’t stayed in one place for more than a month before venturing elsewhere to try something new. I emerge out of the maze happy to have survived, but like a shaken up child just off a roller coaster, I realize now back on solid ground that I haven’t actually moved forward.
I’ll try to be realistic here. If I can make just one tiny decision that moves me closer to being my best self- whatever that entails, wherever that may be- that’s success in my flighty mind. 2012 is the year forward.
What’s your theme word for 2012?