January 1, 2013

My Word for 2013: Choices

The turn of the calendar from 2012 to 2013 evokes different reactions. Some people make resolutions. Others reflect on the past year and set an intention for the next. Still others flip the calendar without fanfare. Most importantly, the new-year process should be personal, authentic, and sustainable. 

Two years ago I tried a different entry into the new year: thoughtful selection of a word. The idea was first introduced to me by Christine Kane. But this year Susannah Conway's "Unravelling the Year Ahead" was my guide. Yesterday and today, I've seriously reflected on the last year, while also bursting into 2013. This is my year of choices.

Choice certainly applies to my new professional path, but it also applies to all of life, big and small. What roles do I play? To what identities do I closely cling? Do these feed me? Do these hold me back?  What assumptions do I make about myself? Do these stop me from seeing myself in new ways or stop me from trying new things? Some of my well-grooved habits, roles, identities, assumptions no longer feed me, yet it takes mindfulness to recognize when this happens, and it's vital for me to understand I have a choice. I can choose to stop playing a certain role; I can choose to view myself in new ways; I can choose to walk different paths. Even in the face of external expectations to the contrary.

And at a bare-bones level, choice impacts me daily. A good reminder: my life is a compilation of my days. Where do I put my limited time and energy? What projects do I embrace? What projects can I release? When is non-doing the answer? What sets of choices make me feel energized, happy, and fulfilled as I lay down to sleep? I hope to ask these questions more often in my year of choices.


  1. How weird that I wrote about the same thing! Susannah Conway is fabulous right?

  2. I've spent my evening sorting old files - one of the folders contains letters I've written in support of various professors' tenure and promotion applications. It's a good thing someone I know once taught me the difference between correlation and causation, otherwise I might start thinking a good letter from me is a jinx! Everyone I've written in enthusiastic support of, is no longer at LU.

    You're a brilliant teacher, Joy. I totally support whatever you decide to do... and I know you'll keep challenging those around you to think critically and learn, even if you never step foot in a classroom again.

    Rock on.

    1. What a wonderful comment to receive. This made my heart melt. Thank you, Dana. Students like you make teaching fun and effortless. I'm so glad we've stayed in touch. And thanks for your confidence in me. (BTW, there are many brilliant teachers who have joined the faculty since you left. And I'm glad you're not making a causal link between your letters and people leaving. :))

  3. The beautiful about having a choice is that you are not boxed in! The possibilities are endless. Great word.
    Thank you for sharing this week!