planning a year like keeping a notebook

Toward the end of last year, I began following a woman namedTrina O’Gorman on Instagram. Trina is an avid journaler, except she doesn’tsay她写日记。She says she keeps anotebook. She’s quite particular about this — except for hashtags, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her actually use the word “journal” in her posts, despite the fact that up and down her feed are photographs of beautiful leatherjournalnotebook covers and gorgeous handwrittenjournalpages.

I. Love. This.

There’s something loaded about the word “journal” — it hints at lofty thoughts, at keen insights. Someone who keeps a “journal” has perfect penmanship. They’reerudite. I suspect many people shy away from journaling because the idea feels far too ambitious.

But a “notebook”? A notebook can beanything. A notebook can be doodles or sentence fragments. It can be a place topracticepenmanship — or simply make scratch-marks that are barely legible to thewriterwhen she returns to the pages months later. It can have meaningless sketches of random objects, or messy rings from an irresponsibly-placed coffee mug.

In other words,anyonecan keep a notebook. Because a notebook requires nothing of its owner, except to be used.

So that’s it: I’m using the wordnotebookfrom now on.

这是一年的开始(对我来说,这也是一本新笔记本的开始)。我想,和大多数人一样,我的很多想法(和写作)都与我对2022年的愿景有关。I mentioned a couple of days ago thatI’m a word-of-the-year girl, because it helps me more to have a word (VIBRANT) than a resolution. Because resolutions (like the word “journal”) haveexpectationsattached to them. A resolution lapse hints at failure.

但只是跟我说句话?There’s no failure — it justis. The point is to get to the end of the year and look back on it and see what kind of year I’ve woven, in the hope that its fabric as a whole reflects my word back to me, even as some days I felt more rooted in my word than others. I can think about how I want my word to look on any particular day and experiment and play and change how it looks on a whim. Some days my word will be large. Or perfect. Other days, it will be a small part of my day, or imperfectly executed. Whatever.

It’s like treating my year like my notebook.

Happy new year, my friends. Whether you choose yearly words, or make resolutions, or just live-and-let-live, may 2022 be all that you hope it to be.