Word of the year

Christina Greer PH. D | 1/11/2018, 1:31 p.m.

My 2018 has already been an exciting few days. I survived a fire and a blizzard in the span of four days. Major plans were canceled, and my patience was tested to limits I was not expecting. I recently saw someone post online that instead of making New Years resolutions, she and her friends instead focus on creating a word that will guide them for the year. I am intrigued by this concept and am thinking of what I would like to be my word of 2018.

We are currently in what feels like a critical and tumultuous political moment. The legislators in Washington, D.C., seem to be abdicating to the whims of an unravelling president, and I have serious concerns about the future of the social safety net in light of the recent passage of the Republican tax bill. There is more political chaos and instability than I am accustomed to. It has been a few decades since America has seen blatant white supremacists running for elected office and being nominated by members of the Republican Party, but alas here we are. And although I concern myself with the irrational behavior of our elected officials and the current political climate, I cannot ignore the literal climate surrounding me. I have friends in Los Angeles fearing for their homes and their lives during wildfires, friends in Massachusetts braving freezing blizzard temperatures, relatives and friends in Houston and Puerto Rico recovering from the devastating effects of hurricanes and the systematic defunding of environmental protections and the promotion of offshore drilling.

So with so much going on in the world, how do I (re)focus and find a positive word that will guide my year? As we evaluate our personal, professional and individual journeys, finding a word or words to help guide us and give clarity seems like a fantastic idea. There are several ways we can go about finding this word of the year. We can meditate on what we want the year to be, to bring or how it should feel, or we can discuss what was to create what will be.

In attempting to find my word of the year, I am asking myself the following questions: What am I proudest of from 2017? What do I wish I had done differently in 2017? What moment characterizes my past year? What should I leave in 2017 and what am I trying to build in 2018? What action steps should I take to make my vision for 2018 become a reality? Should this word be something I keep to myself or share with others to be held accountable?

I do hope you will find a word that serves as a guiding principle for the year. Let me know what you discover.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is the 2018 NYU McSilver Institute Fellow and an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream” and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com. You can find her on Twitter @Dr_CMGreer.