My Word of the Year 2020

This year is different. All years are different.

I didn’t always think about it this way. This is new, and I think it’s connected to the postgraduate life. I’ve stopped thinking of things as ongoing and endless and started thinking of things as discrete projects or units of time in which I can direct my focus somewhere specific. Last year was my Honours year, this year is my Masters year. Discrete projects, assigned particular lengths of time.

In 2018, my word of the year was “Climb”. I wanted to improve academically, to reach new heights. That succeeded. This year, my word of the year was “Cultivate”. I wanted to dig in some roots, practice good habits, centre myself. I’m not sure how well I did in that, but these words aren’t really goals or even a set focus. They’re more of a way of summarising the mindset I’m bringing into the year to come. I picked them based on emotion, not logic.

This coming year is an interesting one. My MA won’t be over and done with until the end of February, so 2019’s project and focus are continuing into 2020. It also means that I’m not really sure what I’m going to be doing come March. I don’t expect my marking to come back for a while after I’ve handed in my thesis, and really I need to know that grade before I can make a decision about what I’m doing. If I want to go further in academia, I need a scholarship.

The mystery isn’t really wearing on me the way I thought it might do. I feel like possibilities will open for me next year, and it’s more exciting than worrying.

With the past two years being so focused on academia, I’ve let slide other projects and interests. That’s not really a bad thing, it’s just where my focus has been. Now, however, I’m feeling the itch to be more creative. Regardless of whether I re-enter the workforce or I start a PhD, the focus of next year is going to be artistic. I want to blog more often, as I’ve neglected this site the past couple of years. Weekly, no matter what it is, I want to post something. I want to write more, I want to fill up journals and notebooks with ramblings, I want to sit in cafés and people-watch and run out of ink. I want to read more. I want to leave cryptic notes in public places and make people wonder. I want love and art and inspiration.

I also want to return to photography. I’ve barely picked up my camera in years, and I miss it. I’ve been playing around with this instant camera the last few weeks, and though it’s really expensive I love the impromptu analogue art. Yeah, it’s expensive, and yeah, you can take a shot and have it not turn out and then you’ve essentially wasted a dollar fifty on a bad shot. You can’t even really share the images. But I love it. I love the mistakes. I love the bad lighting and the strong colour. I love that they’re tiny, slip-in-your-wallet, use-as-a-bookmark physical snapshots. I want to fill up the world with them.

I want, essentially, to see what’s out there. Whether in art or in history or out in the world, I want to go down different roads and uncover hidden things. I want to explore.

And that’s my word for the coming year. Exploration.

See you in 2020.

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