My one-word theme for 2019

Explore.

It’s my one-word theme for 2019.

When I heard on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier, that she and her sister choose a one-word theme for the year every year, I didn’t think I could do it. How could I choose one word out of all the possibilities across several languages? I’m a word NERD. I consume words for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and dessert. And afternoon tea as well.

But as they spoke, my word for 2019 appeared in my brain: Explore. And as I listened to the rest of the podcast, the word swirled around in my my head.

I set the word aside for the work day and returned to it later in the evening in a conversation with my dear friend Kim. After we talked, I knew for certain it was the right word for the year, and possibly for longer than that. I woke up at 6 a.m. the next day, on the weekend, ideas bubbling up in my brain. I got up to write them all down.

I have a few, obvious explorations in the horizon. I live in a new town in a new state surrounded by new things to explore — simple enough. And at the end of January, my mom and I travel halfway across the world to Tanzania to explore a country we have never seen before — exciting!

But exploration can also happen closer to home, or even in the home. Finding new recipes. Trying new foods. Our local farmer’s market teems with fruits and vegetables both familiar and unknown, ripe for exploration. I can explore new worlds and ideas through the books I read. I can explore my friendships, both by making new friends here in California and seeking ways to keep in touch with my existing friends who live far away.

Then, of course, there’s the exploration of the mind. How do I feel? What are my most cherished hopes and dreams? What will my imagination bring me today?

Exploration does not have to be Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the West. Sometimes it’s a kitten tentatively extending a tiny paw to touch an unfamiliar object. Exploring thoughts, feelings, writing, the inner world as well as the outer — this speaks to the life I hope to lead in 2019.

Explore.

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