Welcome, 2015, and the new paths, which will open up for us!

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“Dip your serenity in serendipity and let the surprise be your prize”
– Anonymous

This will be the fourth year that I shall choose a word to focus on for the coming year, and once again I invite my blog followers to do the same. Choose one word that sums up what you want to be or how you want to live for the next 365+ days — a word to shape your year and become a compass to direct you. My word for last year was serenity, and I have to be honest that it took many weeks into the year to start walking in the truth of that word as I was dealing with some very stressful external circumstances, which were very isolating. I am grateful it was out of a place of serenity that I was able to create the first draft of my thesis young adult novel over the summer months.

As I head into my fourth and final semester of my MFA at Stony Brook (two years passes in a twinkle!) I am plowing through revisions to have my thesis submission-ready in a few months. I am also back job-hunting and, in the process, looking for a miraculous opening. Thus my word for 2015 shall be SERENDIPITY.

I want to unpack this lovely word a little, as I hope it will be helpful to some of you. Let’s start with a dictionary definition of serendipity — An unsought, unintended, and/or unexpected, but fortunate, discovery and/or learning experience that happens by accident. There is an active component in this definition of finding something good while looking for something else, which requires a focused, spirited attitude to life. We are active participants in the creation of our lives. So, we need to embrace this creative power, and choose to put ourselves out there so that we can be in the right place at the right time.

My job goals are more optimistic than realistic, but my gut tells me they are worth believing in, just as my challenging goal to come and live in New York was. At times, my hope feels stupid. But if I keep persevering, I’m going to be in the right place at the right time and accomplish some mind-blowing feats. Right?! It’s the most important reason why I should keep persevering — because tomorrow might be the day where I find myself standing at the right place at the right time. In my mind, serendipity works hand in hand with persistence, i.e., listening to, and trusting, one’s own heart, believing in one’s own abilities, and being clear about one’s goals. It’s not about pre-planning every step of my life or waiting for life to hand me everything, but mindful serendipity is embracing all encounters  and opening myself to unexpected connections.

I believe there are a couple of keys to allowing serendipity to work in our lives. Firstly, we need to take off our blinders and begin to see connections between seemingly unrelated events and people. Secondly, we often need to take chances/risks and put ourselves out there, trusting the universe will open doors if we are willing for out-of-the-box thinking. I do feel many of my encounters over the past four years as a writer have been serendipitous as I reentered a purposeful and pulsating life flow. Serendipity is certainly the traveler’s ally, but I believe it can be an ally to us all.

Wishing you all some wonderful surprises in 2015, and that I get to meet even more of you in real life! Please do share your word for the year in the comments.

Let me leave you with a poem I wrote at the end of last year:

Time is our gift.
With the waxing and waning of every moon,
let us not lose ourselves so deeply in routine that we miss                                                      that which is important and wondrous on our journey.

The seasons are also a gift.
A new year reaches to us through an open door with the offer
of a new beginning.
If you are broken – let melodious, healing words
sooth your wounds this year.

If you’re stumbling under self doubt – may confidence                                                        and focus explode into your new year.                                                                                   If you are lonely – reach for a year of serendipitous encounters.                                             If you know it is time for change – cling to the courage                                                           that is yours to move forward into this new year.

As for me, I suspect mine will always be the open road;
the road less traveled;
still learning to let go of surplus clutter;
embrace the challenges,
and set my eyes upon the rising sun.

December 30th, 2013, ©JoannaMarple

New Year 2012                                                                                                                New Year 2013                                                                                                                New Year 2014

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28 Responses to Welcome, 2015, and the new paths, which will open up for us!

  1. Beautiful and true, Joanna. Many thanks for your lovely thoughts to open up this New Year’s day. I believe my word for this year will be “courage.”

  2. Krista says:

    Your post filled me with hope, Joanna. I’m not sure what my word for the year will be. You’ve got me thinking. Your poem is beautiful. Thank you. Happy New Year!

  3. Great words of wisdom, Joanna. Best of luck with it all. My word is discipline.

  4. Lovely words and poem, Joanna! A 2015 toast to serendipity!

  5. Joanna, this is just the loveliest post ever. Your poem is beautiful and your words give confidence (experiencing that old self doubt). My word will have to be promise. Thank you for being my cyber buddy. xoxoxo

  6. I would have taken serendipity but it belongs to you. And promise is probably the word I need to hold onto right now.

  7. Very thought-provoking Joanna. Serendipity is a perfect choice for you this year. I expect the unexpected for you this year. What a journey is has been and will be for my spirited friend.

  8. rhythm says:

    Well, this is a rather serendipitous post! My word for last year was serendipity! My life tends to be one serendipitous moment after another. I truly believe that if you watch for those moments they reach out and grab you! And for this coming year I have been mulling over the word serenity. The word flies around our house quite a bit. One of the Mom Person’s favorite movies. And she has been wishing that Electra had been named Serenity. And is hoping that our next pup will have that calming name. So maybe if I grab hold of the word, it will embed itself in our household. Thanks for sharing this lovely post. I hope that Serendipity becomes the rule for your new year!

    • Joanna says:

      What a beautiful response, Rhythm! Words and name are important, right? And I think Electra sure lives up to her name! Wishing you, Electra and your Mom person the best in 2015!

  9. Best to you in 2015, as you complete your program and go on the search for a job. You have a wonderful word for 2015 and I suspect (and hope) a great year ahead.

  10. Wonderful post, and wonderful word to carry with you throughout the next year. I wish you all manner of good things as you work toward completing your MFA, and as you look in unexpected places and unexpected ways for what will follow.

    My word for this year, which grew out of my participation in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for Writers, is “intentionality.” I want to be intentional about the way I follow my path this year, making my plan and following through — but there is, and must be, room to pause on the path or veer from the path in moments of, yes, serendipity.

    Thank you, Joanna! Warm good wishes to you for the new year and beyond.

  11. Sylvia Liu says:

    I love reading this post of yours each year, Joanna. I believe in serendipity too. And with it comes the open mind to accept the gifts and happy accidents that come your way. My word for the year will be CREATE. (I’ve started a blog called Create One a Day, where I am posting something creative every day: http://createoneaday.blogspot.com)

    Happy New Year and I hope we can meet up in New York!

  12. Carrie Turunen says:

    Very inspiring blog! You never know whats around the corner but being open to the possibilities that are out there is the key to getting where you want to go. I hope I can have as much courage as you do on my own journey!

    • Joanna says:

      Carrie, lovely to read you! And considering the continental moves you guys have made, there’s no lack of courage there! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  13. Erik - TKRB says:

    Great post! I like your new word! I think you will succeed! 😀

  14. Good luck with finishing your course. I love this post as I have done every year, so inspiring, and thought provoking. If serendipity shows a hand (it can happen) and you feel the need to wander down our way, don’t forget to look us up my dear spirited friend.
    My word for 2015 is discipline, as I need it. to work it, and own it. Stay safe, enjoy life as I wish you love and happiness for 2015.

  15. Joanna says:

    Wishing you an overflow of fun in your discipline, Diane!

  16. Pingback: Crafting The Perfect Word | K.D. Rausin

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