My #OneWord365 for 2022

Jan 2, 2022 | Gratitude & Other Reflections

Curiouser and curiouser… Each year I do this #OneWord365 thing, and find myself alone in my “#OneWord365 tribe.” It’s not as if my word were “floccinaucinihilipilification.” In 2015, my word was #CommitmentIn 2019, it was #LimitlessIn 2020, I chose #ObservantIn 2021, #Imagine. I am not ready to move on from these general ideas, just yet. The word I’ve settled on for 2022 is #Curious. Care to join my tribe?

I have not accomplished all my past goals, nor have I abandoned them. #Limitless isn’t without its constraints; none of us get to live forever. I am slowly learning to let go of the things, activities, and habits that don’t bring me joy, in order to make room and time for all that might.

Resolution #1: To Be Fit, To Be Healthy

My fear of missing out (FOMO) hit a peak after 9/11. I was unable to sleep without having the TV on, as if taking my eyes off the news would allow something worse to happen. Some deeply irrational part of me was convinced that if I didn’t stand vigilant, watching and guarding the news, I would be responsible if something worse happened. This year, I have prioritized and focused on fun and fitness, and I have learned to let go of this terrible and irrational sense of being on guard duty. The world can fall apart after 11 PM; I’ll be sound asleep and dreaming of a better one. I’ve gone from an average of 3-5 hours’ sleep, to 7-8 hours’ sleep. I feel mentally and physically healthier, as a result.

I invested in a Garmin smartwatch, joined MyFitnessPal, and rediscovered the joy of swimming and playing in the water, both for fun and exercise. We went to the beach. I joined the YMCA and made a commitment to myself to work out three or four times a week. Since March, I’ve lost 30 lbs. I have 55 to go, but I view “lose weight” and “increase strength and stamina” as a continuing resolution, not a shiny new one to dust off and abandon in a week. I’m almost halfway there, and not giving up now!

My next mini-goal is to work out in the gym twice a week and swim 2-3 times a week, and to stay within my calorie budget. It’s too bad I can’t make extra payments on the calorie debt I racked up over the past two months! (I only gained back 7 pounds, but that’s 3 weeks of work to shed again – you’d think I’d have learned, by now, that those “cheat days” aren’t always worth it!)

Resolution #2: To Explore, To Travel

This past year, my husband and I have been able to travel some – triple-vaxxed and willing to mask up, in a world that is cautiously less restrictive, retired and able to schedule vacations for non-peak times, we’ve had fun exploring places old and new. Oregon, Texas, Florida, the Canary Islands, a short cruise to Cozumel… If I had a dollar for everyone on Gran Canaria and Tenerife who expressed surprised that a couple of Americans could find the Canary Islands on a map and hadn’t made some dreadful error in trip planning, I could go back tomorrow!

Perhaps my #OneWord365 should have been #Serendipity. I would have been alone in that one, for sure! As a kid, I wanted to be a volcanologist. Later, I came to realize that not only were volcanoes an awesome display of the power of nature and the universe, they were scary as hell. (Thank you, Mount St. Helens, for that epiphany.) While I am envious of my friend Asdis, with her “pet volcano” practically in her back yard, in Iceland, I realize that most volcanoes are not so tame. They don’t sit still while you study them – at least not the most interesting and active ones. Nah, they lob flaming boulders the size of Volkswagen’s at your head.

I still want to get close enough to touch molten lava, but I’m not going to lie; I’d probably wet my pants doing it. Since 2018, my husband has taken me to visit some of the most awe-inspiring volcanoes:

  • Haleakala at sunrise, where I nearly cried upon realizing that the billions of stars, in all their glory, were still visible, but we were being robbed of them by light pollution;
  • Yellowstone, which isn’t likely to erupt again in the next 5000 years or so, but which features dazzling geothermal areas and a mesmerizing array of thermophilic cyanobacteria;
  • Mt. Teide on the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, which is very dormant but also absolutely breathtaking in its landscape. From the drive up to the top of Mt. Teide, we were able to see the ash plume from the eruption on La Palma.

We got to spend time with family, too, and that was wonderful – 2020 saw us cancelling get-togethers and holiday plans, and we lost family members and friends. Winter was subdued and challenging; we endured the deep freeze of February, but come spring, my husband built and I planted a raised vegetable garden. We got to spend Spring Break first with a visit with family in Dallas, then in Oregon. We found all the best playgrounds in Portland, visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, where our grandson got to sit at the controls of a submarine. We hiked in the woods, saw Multnomah Falls with friends, and enjoyed a stroll through a pretty little creekside park in Washington State. We ate all the yummiest food and ice cream!

We visited my Dad in Louisiana, and we thawed out in Daytona Beach. I was craving “Vitamin Sea” as well as sunshine and sand. We took a road trip through Dallas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, stopping in Dallas to visit family, Hartman, AR to visit friends, then driving on to Memphis for some good times, good music, and good food.

We spent our anniversary in Las Vegas, which has changed and grown so much since we were last there, decades ago. Hard to believe it had been that long. We met up with friends who had just moved there from California.

Later in the summer, our grandson and his great-grandfather met for the first time, here in Houston. We hosted the first of what I hope will be an annual “Camp Grandparents” – we visited NASA, where he got to touch a moon rock and climb aboard a space shuttle; the Children’s Museum, where he learned how to use science to solve a mystery; the Natural History Museum and Cockrell Butterfly Center; and the Houston Zoo. He also got his first Happy Meal. Then it was off to north Texas to visit the rest of the family before returning to Oregon.

We took a cruise to Cozumel. then hosted Christmas at home.

What adventures will 2022 bring? I don’t know, but I am looking forward to them with great curiosity!

Resolution #3: To Write, To Publish

Six to twelve months… I wrote Movement: Mind and Soul six months ago, and vowed to spend the next six to twelve months resisting the urge to post my fiction and poetry online, rather than giving it a fair shot at publication. I may extend the deadline. I want to have at least 50 more poems and several short stories ready for submission by September. I do plan to return to participating in the Creative Copy Challenge, so I may post some here as well. These will be something of a warm-up, for fun.

I joined the Poetry Society of Texas, last year, and entered their annual contest. I won 9th place in the Qamar Award, and 8th place in the Shirley Elliott Cosby Memorial Award. I plan to enter the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc (OWFI) annual contest this year, as well. Last year, I won the “Technical / How-to” category with How to Create a Manuscript Template. I have no control over whether I win or not, but I do know that I can’t win if I don’t enter, and I can’t be published if I write nothing to submit.

I’m also planning to attend the Conference, this year, if we’re not in lockdown. It’s not the restrictions of the pandemic that get to me, but rather, the uncertainty and inability to make plans. The past two years sometimes feel like we’re living in a snow globe that someone’s tossing around like a basketball.

Resolution #4: To Read, To Learn

You would think that someone who has been an avid reader since grade school would not struggle to read for pleasure now, but despite being able to devour a good novel in hours – not days or weeks – I have read surprisingly few books over the last few years. I thought that blaming work or law school for this was just an excuse, but it turns out that I am not alone.

3.1K likes, 300+ replies and counting, and I didn’t find any that suggested otherwise. Now I think of myself as a burnt-out reader in recovery. I am determined to find the joy in it again. I refuse to give up; instead, I am making my reading goal more ambitious, not less. It’s just the way my brain works. One book a week – 52 books in 2022. Watch this space.

I am curious about and interested in so many different things that it can be hard to choose just one or two new things to learn and focus on them. Sometimes, though, that leads to being like the donkey, caught between two bales of hay, starving because he couldn’t decide which to eat first. I suppose I did learn not to kill plants, last year. And before that, I learned to crochet. How to make the perfect hot and sour soup, from scratch, and how to make haggis that passes for the real thing. I baked bread and a scrumptious dark chocolate cake from scratch. I made pickled vegetables. I competed in a District level speech contest with Toastmasters. Would it be too late, or too cliché, now, to learn a new language (I did get the lifetime license for Rosetta Stone – limitless, remember?) and nurture the perfect sourdough starter? No, it’s never too late.

Resolution #5: To Reflect with Gratitude, To Keep a Daily Journal

I have so much to be thankful for. But I really need to not wait for the end of one year – or the start of the next – to reflect with gratitude on all the good things in life. Or to frame my goals as SMART goals and tasks, and to review my progress towards them more regularly. I’m always very surprised at how much of what I imagine comes to pass, once I’ve thought about it and written it down, even if I forget to revisit it frequently. How much more might I accomplish, if I did?

I have never been good at keeping a journal. But I think I would have loved to discover one written by one of my ancestors. Even if it had been nothing more than an account of the weather and the day-to-day doings of the household, it would have been something special, I think. My daughter once found an old journal that I had written when she was born, but later abandoned as work and raising a baby into a toddler took up the energy needed to write it. She asked me why I’d stopped, and I wished, then, that I hadn’t. I don’t think I ever imagined, then, that she’d be interested in reading it.

It doesn’t matter. I don’t have the hubris to think that anyone will want to read it; I may hide it and forget about it as I grow old. Maybe some stranger will find it tucked under the attic insulation decades after I die. Maybe someone will read this blog post and look for it there, in vain. It amuses me to think about that.

This blog is a journal, of sorts, isn’t it? But, Dear Reader, I won’t bore you with all the details…

Happy New Year! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2022 for us all.

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

20 Comments

  1. Mitchell Allen

    Happy New Year, Holly! Looks like you’re set to immerse yourself in the writing life. I like your resolutions and I hope you achieve most of their sub-goals.

    Serendipity is one of my favorite words. I bet you wouldn’t have been alone, after all.

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted…Shuffling Down Memory LaneMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Well, run over there to OneWord365 and you can be the first and founding member of the “serendipity tribe” if you hurry. I thought about it, but felt that the word should be something we have more direct control over. I do think we can “manifest” certain things by focusing on them, but I don’t think we can do that with things we have NO control over, if that makes sense. We have to do our part to achieve serendipity, and that’s the part I focus on with my OneWord365. You know that Rasheed and I share a favorite quotation:

      “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initative or creation, there is one elementary truth…that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves. too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in ones’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have believed would have come his way.

      Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.”

      ― W.H. Murray The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

      This is why I chose “commitment,” one year.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…My #OneWord365 for 2022My Profile

      Reply
      • Mitchell Allen

        I agree with Murray. I chose “FOCUS” as my personal word in 2021 and it helped. 🙂

        Cheers,

        Mitch
        Mitchell Allen recently posted…Shuffling Down Memory LaneMy Profile

        Reply
  2. 4A-HEALTHY-BMI

    I agree it is helpful to have goals to aim for. It sounds like you’re in a good position to live with purpose and direction ❤️

    From a selfish perspective I hope you do journal frequently in a blog; I would enjoy reading it! 😁
    4A-HEALTHY-BMI recently posted…Solstice QuizMy Profile

    Reply
  3. Jill Ebstein

    This is an awesome list. If you only achieve half of it, it will be impressive. I’d love you to publish in 2022. Your work is so good. I also thought your annual camp with the great grandfather was another great idea… and travel… and fitness of course. Bottom line: nice work and challenging resolutions compared to my one which is to add a little more leisure to my life. Good luck! I am rooting for you.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I added lots of leisure to my life by retiring! That’s a great goal, Jill. 😁

      And thank you for the kind words on my writing. With you in my corner, I’m sure to succeed!

      Reply
  4. Mitch Mitchell

    After reading this I went back through some of my older blog posts looking at yearly goals and such. I stopped doing it after “that man” was elected… not only because of him, but because in less than a month Mom moved in with me and that was pretty much that.

    What’s funny is that almost everyone I’ve talked to who’s doing this over the last couple of days have had the same thing on their list in some way; getting healthier! lol I actually took the easiest way out apparently; rehabbing my shoulder so it’s back to “normal” and keeping up with the healthy things I’ve already been going. Otherwise, the divergence is interesting; there’s a lot of fun in yours whereas there’s a lot of serious stuff in mine. I’d say I should go back & change some of it, but it wouldn’t be me being true to my present self.

    I wish you the best in attaining your goals, or at least getting as close as possible. For that matter, I hope everyone gets there. why not live in the success of others? 🙂
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…14th Anniversary Of I’m Just SharingMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Health and fitness goals seem almost perfunctory, don’t they? But it’s anything more important? The thing about mine is that I’m almost halfway there; it’s the continuation of a goal, not a “new” thing. Assuming success – and I DO assume success at losing the remaining 55 lbs. this year, though probably not until July – September, at the earliest – my next resolution will be to maintain that success and to continue getting stronger and fitter. I’ve finally realized it’s never a “done” deal.

      I am glad the “fun” comes through. I was not feeling as cheeky or comedic about it as I have in previous years, but for exactly the reasons you didn’t change yours, I didn’t change mine.

      My mom used to say that you can always find a shoulder to cry on; it takes a real friend to stick around and celebrate your success. Well, here’s to real friendship and celebrating each other’s successes, big and small. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. Vinitha

    You want to touch molten lava? I want to touch a shining star. 🙂
    Yellowstone is on my husband’s list of places to explore. You’ve explored a wide variety of places, Holly. May 2022 see a fitter and healthier Holly writing about a lot more places she visited.
    Your #oneword365 fits you perfectly, Holly. A future ‘molten lava toucher’ must be a curious being. Right?
    Vinitha recently posted…Word of the Year – 2022My Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      WITH A STICK. 🤣 Preferably under the supervision of a real volcanologist. I’m not a complete fool, Vinitha! But yes, I’d like to get that close to an active, erupting volcano.

      Yellowstone FEELS that close. Burbling mud pots, steam vents, geysers, hot springs – such a gorgeous, weird, varied landscape. I’d want to go again in spring or in the fall, mid- to late-May, or late September, early October – when there’s no snow closure but fewer tourists. While school’s in session and not during summer, when it’s hot and traffic’s unbearable. When the primitive toilets are overrun. 😏 But definitely go. It’s a remarkable place. One of my favorites.

      Reply
  6. Ming Qian

    You had such an eventful year, and it was nice to read this flashback of sorts. Your post reminds me that even with the pandemic’s ups and downs, we can still focus on the good.

    Same as you, I tried bullet journals but I always gave up within less than a week. I am glad that I started my blog and Substack though, they can serve as my virtual journal I suppose! A few months from now when people ask how my semester in Montreal went, I could always point them to my newsletter archives. Hah! Cheers to a better 2022, Holly!
    Ming Qian recently posted…SEO Writing Tips: How to Write Engaging Content for SEOMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      It’s funny how easily you can forget just HOW eventful your year has been, if you don’t jot down a few notes in some sort of a journal, but rely strictly on memory. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this. Some days, it seems like a bit of navel-gazing, but if it’s a fun read and inspires someone to keep a journal, themselves, it’s a good thing.

      Reply
  7. Jill ebstein

    I just reread this and it is masterful. Chock full of information, I have a strong sense of your values and your life. Truly a wonderful read. Thank you❤️

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      You are too kind. I just reread it and noticed all the typos. (Shhh… :D)

      Reply
  8. Corinne Rodrigues

    What a great word!
    Your resolutions are fantastic and I love that you already started out with most of them last year. I’d love to ‘find’ your journal – I can only imagine how fun it would be.
    Stay well, my friend and enjoy your trips both virtual and otherwise!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…An Invitation To GratitudeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      My journal right now is a blank book with pages ripped out. You’d wonder what secrets those pages held, and imagine who ripped them out and why. Perhaps there was a treasure map…

      Alas, the truth would not be half so interesting. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Anita Ojeda

    I feel as if we could all display more curiosity (and less criticism)—our world would be a kinder place.

    I lived about 30 miles north of Mount St. Helens in 1980–I was out jogging when she erupted. I thought it was a sonic boom.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Wow!! I’ll bet it was impressive – just 30 miles north? Terrifying, too! Seriously, that was the one that scared me. Mountains that size aren’t supposed to explode like that. At the same time, I remember being in awe of those photos caught as it did.

      I do believe you’re right, Anita. Real curiosity and a real openness to learning new things (rather than simply seeking out things that confirm our own biases and beliefs and support our favorite arguments) could be key to a kinder, more peaceful world. It’s also really hard to hate people you know, as opposed to a faceless “them.”

      Reply

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