Aleen Mean

2016 is a Wrap

Yellow and pink fireworks in a dark blue sky, the words "new year new word" to the left.

I stopped setting New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. Instead, I pick a single word that reminds me of my goals and intentions for the year. Past words have included create and balance and breathe depending upon where my focus needed to be.

It’s pretty normal for me to be reflective in December. When I started thinking about what my word for 2017 could be, I realized that I never picked one for 2016. It took me 11 months to realize that I’d omitted my major New Year’s ritual. I get a little pang every time I think of it, but there’s nothing to be done about it now.

My omission is understandable. This year was full of activity: it started with a trip to Orlando and a Caribbean cruise and didn’t slow down until the middle of December. During that time, I organized the inaugural run of App Camp for Girls in Phoenix, traveled to my mom’s, San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia, and Anaheim, started teaching a college class, picked up my freelancing career, and gave a long conference talk.

I was also a guest on several podcasts: mainly shows on The Incomparable and Relay FM networks, but I had a few other appearances sprinkled in. In September, after a lot of discussion and angst, I made the decision to end Less Than Or Equal on its 100th episode.

What’s more, I did all of this while I was chronically ill. My trips to Philadelphia and Anaheim even took place soon after I started a highly restricted diet to try to help reign in some of my symptoms of autoimmunity. So, in addition to the stress of travel, I had to also pack food. That meant that I had to purchase, cook, freeze, and transport meat and figure out how to get fresh produce once I arrived at my destination.1 (If you’re looking for details about my diet, why I started it, what my challenges have been, and if it’s helped, stay tuned. I’m working on a post!)

I think it’s safe to call 2016 a whirlwind! It seems like 2017 is shaping up to be less hectic, but we’re only five days in. We’ll see what ends up happening.

No matter what this year has in store, I know what my word is: ferocity.

It feels kind of silly to pick that particular word, but I think I’ll need the reminder over the next 12 months. I have a feeling that I’ll spend a lot of time calling my representatives’ offices over issues like women’s healthcare, the dehumanization of my LGBTQAIP friends (especially my transgender friends), and the public’s right to know what happens on the floors of Congress. Furthermore, I have big goals for the year and I’m going to have to work hard and persistently to achieve them. I still have some health struggles,2 and it’s going to take dedication to figure out what’s causing them and what I can do about them.

I honestly believe 2017 is going to be my best year ever, but I’m going to have to take it head on, with intent, and with ferocity.

And so I shall.

  1. Now that I’ve introduced black pepper back into my diet, I can swing by Whole Foods and get a salt and pepper rotisserie chicken, which was off the menu before. Assuming my destination has a Whole Foods. 

  2. Hello there, insomnia.