I explain this every year but some of you are forgetful and some of you are new and I love the sound of my own voice, so I'm going to explain it again.

I don't do new year's resolutions because they suck and I'm edgy and like to rebel against societal norms. I used to do resolutions. But then on January 2nd I would swiftly break every single one of them with reckless abandon. Then I'd be like "welp. I guess that didn't work out. There's always next year." And then I'd continue being the colossal suckface you all know and love.

Then in 2013 I was in Palau and I was deeply depressed. The new year had started. I had been suffering from a state of mental fog and I was in the pits of despair, feeling trapped and hopeless. One day while sitting in my office I just had this epiphany—it was basically that I was the only person who could change my situation and so if I didn't want to keep feeling the way I was, I needed to do something about it. After some introspection, I decided that a lot of my struggles stemmed from an attitude problem. I had fully decided that my life was a sad one, and I was viewing each day from the perspective of defeat.

I didn't set any specific goals to deal with this. Instead, I almost instinctually pulled out a sticky note and wrote "Year of Attitude" on it. I stuck it to my computer monitor. I decided that in 2013 I was going to continually think about what "attitude" means, what I wanted my attitude to look like, how working on my attitude might improve my emotional/physical/mental wellbeing, etc.

Instead of having a goal I could "fail" to achieve, I had identified sort of a state of being to strive toward. Having a bad attitude about something one day didn't make me want to give up on the whole idea. It instead motivated me to try harder. "I just had a bad attitude about that. That's not the kind of way I want to be during The Year of Attitude."

It was so empowering and effective and it completely changed something within me. By the end of the year I felt like a better person. More confident; more at peace; happier; prouder of myself.

So I decided in 2014 I would pick another theme. And I've kept up this practice ever since.

2014: The Year of Honesty (Being more authentic about myself and my feelings; this is the year I came out to my family and friends)

2015: The Year of Standing Up For Myself (Mostly in the workplace; making sure I was not too afraid to speak up and voice my opinions)

2016: The Year of Productivity (Being more thoughtful about how I spent my time and making good use of it by spending it with purpose)

2017: The Year of Creativity (Starting new projects and learning new hobbies; this is the year we launched Strangerville Live and I learned to knit)

2018: The Year of New (Striving to try new things and avoid routines in my down time)

2019: The Year of Health (With a focus on learning to eat less meat, more fish, and developing habits that would help me feel good physically)

2020: The Year of Perspective (Attempting to be less uptight about things that truly don't matter; oh boy, did this one turn out to be important in 2020)

Each of these years and themes have been extremely valuable to me. I've found that spending an entire year trying to focus on one state of being has helped me develop habits and practices that I've been able to carry on from year to year.

As I've thought for the past several months about what I want my 2021 to look like, I keep coming back to this idea that social distancing and the pandemic really exposed something in myself I want to give my attention. In 2020 I saw myself develop some unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms.

And so I've decided I want 2021 to be my Year of Wellbeing. Similar to a year of health, I want to give thought and effort toward understanding and embracing moderation. I want to spend time focusing on how what I take into my body and mind affects how I feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. I want to be more aware of my tendencies to seek instant gratification when it comes to what I eat and how I spend my time and I want to get into a habit of challenging those decisions by thinking about their "cost."

When I get to the end of 2021, I want to be able to say that I feel like a more well-rounded and disciplined person.

I want to hear what you hope for yourself for 2021. Whether it be a theme like I've described, more traditional and specific goals, or something entirely different. Please, share with the class!

And while you think about it, please enjoy this week's new Strangerville:

This time in Strangerville, please please please do not take any medical advice from Strangerville. Please. We don’t know what we’re talking about and we don’t want anyone to die because of things we’ve said. Also, enjoy Eli’s story about how he tried to get his husband to believe in ghosts.


The Mink Creek Ghost, by Eli McCann (music by Loyalty Freak Music)

Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger