Long time followers will know that I’ve been choosing a “word of the year” for many years now. And this year I’ve chosen the word Explore as my focus. I prefer having a word rather than a specific New Year’s Resolution, because it is more of a generalised theme which is far easier for me to focus on. As a very sick individual, setting goals can be really challenging. But having a focus helps a lot.
Last Year’s Word
Last year I chose Self-Care, and I’d say that I was largely successful in making it a focus for the past 12 months. My health took quite a large downturn during 2023, with lots of new symptoms and a couple of new diagnoses coming my way. But it was also the year in which I started to learn how to ask for more help, began making small changes to look after myself more, and asked for items to increase my comfort for Christmas.
It’s also the year in which I began to re-explore my love of crafting, something which has always calmed my soul but which I haven’t really invested in for several years. I published my poetry book. I started making Christmas cards. I learnt how to do some origami. And I made the cutest little yule log candle holder as part of my Yule Advent Calendar. So when I started to think about which word to choose for 2024, “Create” was my first thought.
The problem with that is I already chose that in 2018 and it did not go well. 2018 began with my becoming unable to even work from my bed, and ended with me mostly housebound. My energy baseline dropped spectacularly and I wasn’t able to do any of the things I had hoped to do. And I know that were I to choose “Create” as my word again, I would set myself up to fail with too many expectations of just what I would create.
So I spent some more time reflecting on it and realised that the best word for where I’m at in my life right now is “Explore“.
A Year to Explore
Explore offers me the space to include my creativity within it, whilst being open enough to encompass so much more. My life is incredibly limited due to my various health issues, and so I really didn’t want to limit myself in yet another area. I wanted something that felt expansive, which could shift and flow to accommodate me wherever I happen to find myself throughout the year.
So what does this look like in practice? Well…
I want to explore my identity. As a disabled and chronically ill person. And a queer person. And a Christian. And a Pagan. As a wife. A mother. A writer. And a friend.
And I want to explore the intersections of my identity – what it feels like to be a queer Christian. A disabled Christian. A Christian Pagan. A queer, disabled person. A queer, disabled wife and mother. You catch my drift.
I want to explore my style as it fits into all these sections of my identity. And how I present myself to the world.
I want to explore what makes me happy. What fills my life with joy and peace as the world around me crashes and burns. And I want to explore where I need to speak up and take action and where it’s okay to sit back and let somebody else fight instead.
I want to have a sense of exploration as I work my way through my ridiculously long TBR (to be read) pile, reading beyond my favourite authors and genres. And I want to explore how those experiences impact my own writing.
I want to explore my local area, getting out in my wheelchair more than I managed in 2023 to get some fresh air and a new perspective. I want to find the hidden gems, to learn the local folklore, and feel a sense of belonging, even when I’m stuck in bed and shut away from the world.
Will you join me on your own Journey of Exploration?
I could go on and on about the ways in which explore fits where I’m at right now, but that would make for a rather tedious post. So I’m going to end with this, an invitation to join me. What might you like to explore in 2024, and how can we make that happen? Let’s connect and encourage each other over the coming year.
If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can support A Spiral Dance.
- Buy Me A Coffee – this is an easy way to support me financially, to help keep the blog going and cover my bills.
- Follow me on social media – I’m on Facebook, Threads, Bluesky, Instagram, and TikTok.
- Share this post with others, either on social media or by using the image below to pin on Pinterest.
- Read and share some of my other posts.