anew: one little word 2022

Anew means: again; in a new or different and typically more positive way; a fresh start; once more; begin.


I like the idea of anew because it isn’t a shiny-brand-new-throw-out-the-old-and-remake-everything, but rather it is a culmination of becoming; growing another layer on the broken|healed|rebuilt|scarred life that has been a beautiful mess, even the ugly parts. Anew feels like coming out of the miry pit and breathing fresh air, sucking in one big gulp of crisp and clean potential. 

As I stand on the edge of 2022, I know I am beginning again. It is not the first time a new year has offered a new beginning. It is the first time I’ve been this version of me, looking out into the year with potential and wondering what kinds of commitments I ought to make in order to keep the agreement I’ve made to live anew in 2022.

I like to give gifts to my future self. It is this lens that I’m using to make commitments to 2022. I just listened to an episode of the new podcast, The Pursuit of Something. Ali Jafarian discussed the importance of taking thoughts and turning them into commitments. I jotted my own list of commitments. 

And then I felt silly. 

I asked Andy, “Do you think I’m an ambitious person?”

“Not really,” he said, and I felt slapped. There was silence and then he said, “You’re not cutthroat and you care more about people than making it to the top of something.”

His idea of ambition is different than my idea of ambition. “I have goals,” I said. “I’m not lazy,” I said. 

“You’re the least lazy person I know,” he agreed. “You also love people more than you care about making things work out for yourself.”

“I made a list of commitments for the year,” I said. “When I looked at them, I felt a little silly.”

“Why would you feel silly?” he asked. 

The silence lingered around us, a testament to my age and the comfort of being with the same person through an ugly and gnarled journey that somehow became beautiful. I’m beginning to wonder if the beauty is because we were always together on the other side of the path. 

I feel silly because my list doesn’t seem important, but these are the promises that matter to me.

  1. Make a scrapbook page each week.
  2. Write weekly on my blog about something ordinary and small.
  3. Prepare and schedule all content for work three or more weeks in advance. 
  4. Zero my inboxes every week.
  5. Write letters and put them in the mail.
  6. Be a runner by running 10 – 15 miles each week of the year.
  7. Visit 10 state parks with a friend before the end of the year.
  8. Take three trips to visit friends or family in different parts of the world.
  9. Knit gifts for people I like.
  10. Write a new book proposal. (Gulp.)

I didn’t add habits that I already have and love and plan to sustain to this list. These are new gifts I want to give myself in 2022.

Maybe they are a silly.
(Andy says these things are not silly.)
Maybe they are whimsical.
Maybe anew needs whimsy.

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  1. I love your list of commitments and like Andy, I do not think they are silly! Might have to make a list of my own…

  2. What an ambitious list! I’d feel accomplished if I did only one of the things on your list. Good luck!

  3. Ruth – first, I admire the way your write your truths. You see, sense, and say them for what they are. I totally understand layers of “anew,” that it can describe a life that is scarred, healed, broken, rebuilt, a beautiful mess. Truth is, we’re all broken in some some way, sometimes in many ways. “Anew” speaks to hope, to possibility, to purpose and maybe even being repurposed. This list-! It IS important because it matters to you. I see it as being about living more intentionally. I have made myself clean out my inboxes more regularly, too – decluttering! One can focus anew! Writing regularly about something ordinary and small – oh, such power in that. I am filled with great expectancy over the idea of your book proposal. I believe everything on your list will bring you fulfillment and joy… and the idea of all that running fills me with awe 🙂 Thank you for being such an inspiration.

  4. Oh, Ruth, you are ambitious (just reading your list makes me tired)! I love that your promises/commitments are gifts to yourself. What a fun/whimsical way to look at beginning anew! #5 made me chuckle – write letters AND put them in the mail. I need to get beyond buying the card and thinking about writing the letter.

  5. Ruth, I too probably have a different definition of silly than you do. Your list supports health, creativity, productivity and connection – it’s wise, beautiful and enriching. I love the idea of visiting parks and writing letters. These are not common ones on people’s lists. Even if you don’t get everything perfectly accomplished, like zeroing the inbox, or running 10 miles, you will get many things done. Making a list of things that matter to you is a form of self-care. And remember that besides the to-do lists for planning also make ta-da lists to collect all the things you have done.
    You can’t imagine how thankful I am every time you write. You create a space for others to gather and share stories, encourage people across the world to see the wonderful version of themselves, set an example of resilience and grace. Your comments on my blog and Instagram touch me deeply. Thank you! Hugs!

  6. Commitment over resolutions. . .life goals rather than those over and over you know you will fail at-losing weight.;) I love them. I aspire to be you! You are inspiring. I can only hope that I can inspire others as they travel down life’s road.

  7. Whimsy is a great word for you, too, Ruth. Good teachers and moms have to be whimsy because we’re in the business of every day life. Whimsy keeps our heads above water with a smile.

  8. Good Lord, girl! These are not silly AT ALL, not one little bit. Whimsical I might be able to agree to, but I think — for me at least — incredibly ambitious, in all the right directions. Ambition to grow, explore, make connections, gift, be, live, help others. Absolutely, positively, not silly … did I mention that yet? 😉

  9. I love these commitments, and they inspire me to try to make some to myself, which I usually don’t do. Whimsy is the right word–never silly! We could all use some more whimsy.