A word to guide me through 2016

This year was, quite frankly, bloody marvellous.

Who would have thought you could change your family’s location, lifestyle, occupations and everything besides, and do so without difficulty or negativity?

The lack of struggle has certainly shown me that we’re on the right path at the right time, and it’s time to look at what’s next.

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Having a word has guided me through a few years now. It’s a simple reminder to follow my own path, with that word in the back of my mind through every decision and turning point.

One thing I’ve noticed about having a word to guide myself through each year is that each following years’ words don’t just replace the previous. They all build upon each other, one by one, compiling to build a set of values that are important to you.

My past words have been: simplify (the year I discarded everything but the basics from my life; a starting point from which to rebuild), focus (the year I set my goals and stuck to them), strength (the year I embraced my inner strength and let it shine), and nurture (this past year I decided to actually look after myself).

Those focuses have formed a powerful foundation for this next stage of my life, in which I shed the darkness I’d used as a filter for everything and create a happier existence.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that the word for the next year always makes itself apparent as the current year draws to a close. There’s usually a defining moment that you realise is the next step in the (hopefully) long staircase that’s your life.

My word for the coming year is inspired by a song. As soon as I heard it played by the brilliant Mumford & Sons in concert last month, I knew it was my next focus.

“And so I’ll be found
With my stake stuck in this ground,
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul.”

It’s hard to convey the power of this song – but go and listen for a clue if you like – and yet it kind of sums up where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s a song of darkness followed by passion; the type of hard fought passion that’s claimed with fierceness and felt with the entirety of the – my word for 2016 – soul.

Soul.

In the coming year, I’ll be found holding tight to this life I’ve forged. I’ll mark this territory for my family and for me and, if anyone tries to tear us down, I’ll stand up taller. I want to live with less apology; with more passion, more noise, more soul.

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