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2021 Word: Invest

Some years, I have to cast around to figure out what word I want to use to shape what's ahead. Not this one. As 2020 wound down and I reflected on what was a garbage fire/pandemic-rife/Very Unusual Year, it became obvious what word I'd use to shape 2021: Invest. My 2020 word, abundance, was in some ways too big for the year that we had. I need to reign things in a little. Additionally, the one element that I struggled with in 2020 (and, let's be honest, I struggle with it all the time) is taking care of myself. The pandemic, and the subsequent way it effected my family and job, generated a shattering level of exhaustion that I've never experienced before. So in 2021, I'm gathering those pieces and putting myself back together again, Humpty Dumpty be damned. gives three definitions for invest:

  1. to commit (money) in order to earn a financial return

  2. to make use of for future benefit or advantages

  3. to involve or engage, especially emotionally

These three definitions resonate with me. This is what I need for 2021: to invest for the future, when the future has felt uncertain and dark. I am applying this word to 5 categories of my life, hoping that investing in each area will give me future benefit.

Health. My albatross. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this area always ends up last on my list. In 2021, I'm making it first. I've added a separate calendar color to my iCal (a sunny yellow) and I am going to schedule time to invest in myself. From (at home) spa nights with my daughter, to walks in the neighborhood with my husband, to using the breathe app on my Apple watch, to cultivating an at-home yoga practice, health is where I hope to make the biggest investment this year. And we all know that pays off down the road.

Family. I definitely had an abundance of family time in 2020 (didn't we all?). We played board games, explored new places together, laughed and watched movies, and they are still the best team to quarantine with. I'm keeping my plans to go someplace new every month and play board games (all the games!), and I'm adding more cooking together. This year, each kid gets one night per week to plan dinner and I'll help them make it. Husband is getting in on it, too.

Writing. My creativity suffered for the bulk of 2020, but I've come back to writing at the tail end of this year and I'm ready to launch into 2021. Instead of tying my goals to specific books, I am setting the intention to joyfully draft new projects each quarter. I've also set minimum numbers of days which I'd like to write during each quarter, and I have a goal to accomplish related to one specific project, which I'll share when it's a little closer to completion. Investing time to work is a priority.

Author Business. In 2020, I took an online class in developing an author business plan (and completed it excruciatingly slowly), and I now feel ready to actually draft said document. I'm going to do that during the first week in January, and use it as a guide for the year. I've set up quarterly check-ins and assessments in my calendar. I have a list of skills I want to learn. It's (long past) time to think strategically about my career and invest in myself.

Financial. Time for some literal interpretation of the word. Husband and I have some financial goals and to-dos that we need to tackle, and I've set up some meetings to put that in motion. We need to more actively think about college and retirement savings, and those are areas that are simultaneously boring and terrifying to me--so I keep putting them off. Not anymore. We are both going to invest time into learning what we need to do to better invest our money.

Overall, I want to invest my time and energy into things that enhance my life and bring me joy. The future benefits will be incalculable.

Here's to 2021!

Flowers on my kitchen counter.