2022 Guiding Word

I’ve been considering what my guiding word for 2022 should be. I’ve settled on “maintain.”

That might not sound particularly inspirational or aspirational–that’s what I thought. But the word stuck to me like glue. I tried to come up with something better, but it just kept coming back to me: maintain. And there are some obvious reasons for this, I think. After a year of healing, of fighting for my health and wellbeing, a year focused on maintaining it makes sense. I want to maintain my health–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I want to maintain balance (especially work-life balance). I want to maintain focus, energy, gratitude. I want to maintain all of the good practices I adopted last year and years prior. I want to maintain the lessons learned.

And yet maintain… maintenance…seems like a really low bar. But let’s face it: after the last two years, it’s really not. And also, there’s something to be said for maintenance (ask anyone whose car/AC/appliance/tooth breaks down because they ignored their scheduled maintenance/checkups. And anyway, the world just kept floating to the top: maintain. And I pulled out my Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary and flipped through to find “maintain.” And now it seems even more apt. Maintain. Uphold, defend, carry on, keep up, assert, justify, sustain against opposition, persevere. Maintain. No wonder it kept rising to the top. So here we are: #Maintain2022.

In related news, this dictionary came home with me from Winthrop. It was probably a Writing Center reject. But at one point it apparently belonged to Dot Thompson (which will be relevant to Winthrop peeps like Jo Koster ). And that was another sign for me to stick with “maintain.” And also, I tucked between its pages random newspaper articles about language. There are also index cards with definitions of certain words and notes, including someone’s phone number on this page, which I’ve marked through because who knows whose number that was or is (I clearly didn’t think to note that 😂).

Background:
Several years ago, I started choosing a word or words to guide me through the year, an idea I stole
from Mary How.

2015: “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
2016: empathy
2017: grateful
2018: Patience.
2019: Release.
2020: {I don’t remember…but can you blame me?}
2021: Healing
2022: Maintain

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