New Year, New Word

For the past years, instead of setting ‘New Year Resolutions’, I’ve cultivated the habit of setting the tone of the new year with ‘word of the year’. Long story short, I was inspired by the ‘Kanji of the year’ practice in Japan, where a Japanese character is chosen to represent the events of the year. There are many variations on how people use this ‘Kanji of the year’ – some use it to summarize the events of the year, some use it to express their aspirations for the year. And I belong to the latter.

Let’s recap what the past words are:

2014

  • 鮮やか (あざやか・azayaka) – bright, vivid, colourful
  • 新鮮 (しんせん・shinsen) – fresh (new, novel)
  • 2013 was a year I felt very stifled, and so I desired for change(s) in 2014

2015

  • 維持 (いじ・iji) – to maintain, to persevere, to improve
  • 持つ (もつ・motsu) – to hold, to possess, to have, to own
  • Having successfully made changes in 2014, I went into a time when I don’t really know what is to come. With all the uncertainties, I wished to leave 2014 and welcome 2015 with a brilliant smile, hence 「持」 – to accumulate little by little, so I will be able to join the dots when I look back in the future.

2016

  • 好 (こう・kou) – good, positive
  • 好き (すき・suki) – liking, fondness
  • 好調 (こうちょう・kouchou) – favourable, promising
  • 好奇心 (こうきしん・koukishin) – curiosity
  • 2015 was a year where I learned how my influence impact others and it’s really important to keep up with the positivity. I wanted to remember at the top of mind how challenges can always be turned into opportunities. I also wanted to be proactive in demonstrating positivity through the things I say and do. And of course, to have the curiosity of a little child, to experience and explore the new.

Reflecting on 2016, I think it hasn’t been a bad year. It was intense, in the sense that there were all sorts of emotions. There were happy things (that kept me awake at night), sad things (that also kept me awake at night), frustrating things (such as having my phone stolen), joyful things (impromptu trip to Japan). But.. it wasn’t really bad. I thought the ‘stay positive’ self-mantra guided me well. Despite experiencing negative emotions, the resolutions are often quick and I have crazy good friends who stuck by to make sure I’m okay. I probably wouldn’t have made it so far if I were alone 🙂

In 2017, I hope that

  • I will be happy
  • I learn more about myself and become a better person
  • I will work on my strengths and concentrate on honing them

With that, I arrive at my word of the year for 2017, which is 「

  • 巧み(たくみ・takumi; also written as 匠) – artisan, skillful (proficient)
  • 巧妙(こうみょう・koumyou) – skillful, smart, clever

I talked about this to some people and basically there are two big reasons why this word.

First, I discovered in the past year that sometimes I feel frustrated because I care too much about achieving the end goals. As such, sometimes there are ‘cutting corners’ or there could be a bit of sloppiness, and the drive to check off the goals on the checklist is very high. However in doing so, it does not mean that I’ve been doing things effectively or is becoming more skillful at it. It also drives me mad when the goals are not met, and I seldom see the merits of the process that does not drive towards ‘success’. In 2017, I think I do need to adjust my attitude because I know to me, ‘success’ shouldn’t mean checking off a checklist. Instead, I want to concentrate on the ‘getting there’.

A second reason is because of what I saw through the movie, ‘Tsukiji Wonderland‘ (you can still catch it at The Projector). I still remember how the movie left me with so much awe. Not because it was the most outstanding documentary of the year, not because it was the most glorified tribute to the rich history of Tsukiji Fish Market, but because it captured the heart-work and artistry in that trade. It made me question whether it is okay to be good in just one thing for my entire lifetime. I also wondered if I would one day grow cold towards something I once held much passion for. I don’t have an answer. In fact, I’ll be searching for an answer. But till then, I know I want to focus on developing my strengths to attain that artistry, over being distracted and wanting to gather or learn new things.

So… this wraps up my thoughts for the year ahead.
Happy new year and cheers to many great times in 2017!!!

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New Year, New Word

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