Cultivate: My 2021 Word of the Year

Cultivate in horticulture is defined as preparing and using the land for crops or gardening. It’s secondary definition is trying to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill). In other words in order to cultivate something you have to be intentional. Nothing can be left to chance. The land won’t sprout crops on it’s own, you have to prepare it. You won’t just wake up with all the qualities and skills you want, you have to develop them. The seeds I planted in 2020 and before, must be cultivated if I want to see real change.

In this final year of my 20’s I see myself as a sapling on the precipice of becoming a tree. I just need a little bit more water, sunshine, and fertilizer to get there. Does this mean that when I turn 30 everything will be perfect? Of course not. A tree must still gain buds that turn into blossoms before bearing fruit. But before I get to point I have to do the work.

In 2021 I want to cultivate…

Creativity: I don’t work in a traditional “creative” field (although working with small children you are forced to get creative everyday) but I am a creative person and need an outlet. That is the reason I decided to get back to blogging. I’ve loved writing since I was a kid and it’s one of the few things I always felt came naturally to me. I’ve planned and set dates for posts for the first quarter of 2021. I’ve made use one of the several abandoned notebooks I have laying around and designated it for blogging notes. So we’ll see how it goes!
Another creative hobby of mine is singing. It was my goal last year to sing at a open mic but then the world shut down. But before that I was attending open mics with a friend and trying to figure what song I would sing. That will continue in 2021 and maybe if things go well it will be safe to spend time in a bar or coffee shop. Until then I have a karaoke app where I sing and continue searching for that perfect song.

Rest: I’m what you would call an evening person. That’s someone who isn’t quite a night owl but isn’t an early bird. I have to be at work before the sun rises completely and I don’t leave until it’s nearly set. It’s a long day, and I don’t get enough rest. It’s hard for me to get up in the morning, but it’s also hard for me to get to bed at a reasonable time. Because I struggle in the morning I need an extra 15 minutes just to muster the will to get out of bed. I also need a full hour of wind down time in my bed to fall asleep. I NEED A NIGHTIME ROUTINE. I know without a doubt this will be the hardest one for me. If you have any tips or tricks please reach out. I have a 3 hour window between when I get home from work and when I need to get in bed.

Play: This one is tricky as we don’t yet know what’s going to happen with Corona, this vaccine, and when the world will be safe again. I did not leave the state of Georgia at all in 2020 so it’s my intention to travel in the Spring, domestically at least. My goal is to set aside funds for this travel.

Meaningful Work: I love teaching but it isn’t the most lucrative job. So my goal is to find a side hustle that not only helps pay off these student loans but is also something I enjoy. Ideally it would be something that has flexibility, and is worth the effort monetarily.

Peace of Mind: I have come a long way with my anxiety (shout out to therapy) but I still find sometimes my mind racing about things that either don’t matter, I can’t control, or are situations I’ve imagined. I’ll think about it all day to the point that I’m no longer engaging in the present. Then when I get home I can’t sleep because my mind is still buzzing with what if’s. I’ve used meditation in the past to help with this but for whatever reason I threw aside this tool in 2020. I want to cultivate a meditation habit so when the anxiety comes as I know it will, it won’t affect my entire day.

Self-discipline: As a procrastinator with a perfectionist complex and who’s also on the lazy side self-discipline is especially tough. How do you become more disciplined? Is there an app or a podcast? Maybe a Ted-talk? I’m sure there’s all those things. And I’m sure I’ve listened/used to them all. But I still struggle. If I want to accomplish any of things I’ve listed I have to be disciplined, keeping in mind that it won’t happen overnight. It’s hard to start a new habit but I know myself well enough to recognize that if I want it badly enough I will find a way.

I’ve always known what kind of person I wanted to be and I’m willing to do the work to get there. Today is only day 1 of 365, plenty of time for me to fall and get back up again. This could very well be another trash year but I’m going to grow either way.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash