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2019's Word(s) of the Year: Live Deliberately

This was not my intended motto for this year. When I started thinking about what I wanted to focus on in 2019, the words that came to mind were "Risk It." I have big plans this year: I'm on sabbatical from my day job until June, I'm teaching at an international writing conference in Mexico in February, I'm trying some very different things with my get the idea. There's a lot of risks ahead to embrace.

Then the Universe sent me a bunch of messages that caused me to rethink everything:

I received a Christmas card from my friend Shelagh, and enclosed were some faux tattoos containing phrases from Henry David Thoreau. Pretty cool, right? I tucked them away, figuring I'd find something fun to do with them. Next, I read an article about how the state parks all around the country have a First Day Hikes program, where they host nature walks on January 1st. It going to be a scarily balmy 56 degrees on New Year's, so this seemed like a great way to start the year. The closest one to me? Walden Pond.


My daughter and I got ready to go, and I remembered the tattoos. We were running a little late, and I fumbled through the choices. She grabbed "wild and free," and the one I kept coming back too? "Live deliberately." I stuck it on my arm and off we went.

Listening to the guides talk about Thoreau, whom I've read and taught in classes, reminded me again about his commitment to not only living simply, but within his moral code and with integrity. The full quote that my tattoo pulls from is: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and n