Well Hello There, 2019

Another year, another post starting with me marveling at how long it's been since last I wrote. I won't belabor the point--it's been months, and I've been busy and distracted and caught up in other things--but I will note that despite my many, many considerations of shutting this little blog down, I find myself, yet again, clinging to it for reasons I can't entirely articulate.

And so, here we are, another year gone, another post in which I lay out my intentions for the year to come. As I've written about before, I gave up on resolutions long ago, instead choosing a word to focus my efforts for each recent year. In 2015, it was light. In 2016 and 2017, it was savor. In 2018, it was presence.

Reading back through my posts about each intention, each word, I start to see a trend. It's something I wasn't conscious of in the writing of those posts, or in the selection of each word, but it's there nonetheless--a craving for presence, for space, for a pause button, for a way to feel less tired, less consumed, less exhausted, less burnt out. And so it seems appropriate, somehow, that I landed on the word spaciousness for 2019.


Did you read the recent Buzzfeed article about millennials and burnout? No? Go on, read it. I'll wait. (Yes, it's long. Yes, it's worth it. Yes, even though it's a Buzzfeed article.)

This is one of those essays that resonated with me in ways I am still working out in my head. It forced me to truly own the fact that this whirlwind of productivity and go-go-go and do-it-all and busyness is not just happening inside my own head, but across a generation. (As a side note, I'd argue that this is, in fact, not so much unique to the millennial generation, of which I am a part, as it is a product of this time, this particular moment, this 21st-century technological wonder we live in together multi-generationally). It gave me a sense of clarity I hadn't realized I was lacking; I saw myself in that never-ending wheel of productivity, burnt out already, and realized, quite suddenly, that I was not going to wake up one day to realize that I had gotten through the burnout phase unless I figured out a way to get to something other than a burn-out lifestyle.

Before the Buzzfeed article came out, and before I'd reviewed my intentions for years past, I'd already selected my word for 2019 in my head. Now that I look at it closely, I realize that spaciousness is a continuation of the craving expressed in my words of years past. I crave space -- to breathe, to sit, to explore, to imagine. To just be. Sure, I want that space to be light, and I want to savor what comes into my space, and I want to craft that space intentionally. But what I want this year, more than anything, is pure spaciousness. I want time. I want peace. I want room to breathe, to ignore the hamster wheel of must-dos in favor of the meandering list of could-dos.


We moved in August (a large part of my total absence over recent months), to a new house outside of city limits. We're no longer walking distance to... well, anything. I thought I'd miss the city (small though our local city may be), but in fact, I do not. I drive to town to shop, for meetings, to go out with friends, and then I get in my car and drive 15 minutes through farmland and then through wooded acres and partially up the side of a very small mountain to arrive at my house, tucked back from the road and surrounded by trees and perched atop a steep hill that makes the driveway in the front a bitch to shovel when it snows but gives us clear views of the open sky and blowing branches out the back (the image in this post's header is taken out my back window). I cannot see into any of my neighbor's windows from any point in my house. It is a sense of spaciousness I hadn't realized I was lacking; it's a sense of spaciousness I would not have wanted, appreciated, or enjoyed five years ago and yet now feels vital to my health, wellbeing, and ability to exist in a crowded, clamoring world.

But my focus on spaciousness goes beyond the physical space I inhabit, as crucial as physical space is to me. It is about creating space for the things I want, finding a balance between structure and nothingness, choosing when to live by the list and when to live by feel.

It sounds easy on paper: just quit the things I don't love and make space for the things I do. In the quitting, of course, there will come downtime and breathing room and space to just be. But what happens when most of the things I do are things I do love? And things I have no desire to quit? How do we create spaciousness for ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally, when we crave being a part of everything as much as we crave respite from it all?

That's the spaciousness I hope to find this year; the balance between the hyperconnected, busy world I love and the calm, silent moments I also love. I don't have answers, and I don't yet know how to do this or what it will look like or what work I'll need to do to get to where I want to go. But I am fully committed to making the space to find those answers, and I wish you all the space you need in 2019 to find your own.