Every year, I pick a word of the year. I look at it as a light, a guide, a mantra, maybe even a marching order. The word for 2020 was ‘act’. Yeah.
A year ago, there was no pandemic. No stay-at-home orders. No masks. No social distancing. No one knew what COVID was. No one was afraid, out of work, hospitalized or dying. Children were playing in playgrounds, going to school and running around with their friends. Shops and restaurants and galleries were open. People were working and shopping and looking forward.
Acting on my word.
Even with everything closed down, I worked. I threw and trimmed and painted and glazed. I was determined to keep creating. And I knew that creating, for me, was the best way to stay healthy. When I work with my hands, my mind relaxes. Throwing works my muscles and helps me stay strong.
When everything else seemed to stop, my best act was to keep going in my studio. I made teacups for the first time. Trimming those delicate little feet took a lot of concentration that stopped my spinning thoughts.
Act started to appear in my bowls giving me new thoughts.
Acting in my own behalf.
This phrase kept appearing in my journaling. I was a bit surprised because I always thought I did a good job of taking care of myself. But looking deeper, I realized, I did a much better job of acting on behalf of others like my husband, my children and even, my dog than I did on myself.
Many, many times in my life, I’ve kept my mouth shut. Put up with abuse. Waited and waited to be asked, recognized, heard and seen. I kept my ideas, opinions and feelings to myself. I realized that many, many times, I did not act when I could or should have.
Act helped me this year. Even with the pandemic fears, I acted. I worked. I created. I showed my ceramics. Instead of always depending on some organization or somewhere else, I learned to sell my art myself. I put my art on Etsy. I did social media promotions.
I did act. In spite of all the closures and cancellations and quarantines, I acted. I acted brave by promoting my own art. I acted kind by going out safely with mask, sanitizer and social distancing. I acted with love by taking care of myself, my husband, my children and grandchildren. I acted true by voting with my mind and heart.
What will be the word for 2021?
After this year, I have no idea what 2021 will bring. I don’t know what word could possibly help us move beyond this year into a better one.
And the only act I want to take right now, on this New Year’s Eve, is say goodbye 2020!