For the past few years, I’ve participated in the practice of choosing a word for the new year. The first time I did it in 2017, I didn’t even realize this was a somewhat common practice. My New Year’s resolution was simply to be more joyful, so each day I woke up and was intentional about keeping that word at the forefront of my mind. Since 2017, I’ve chosen other words — confidence, strength and courage. Each word has come to define my year in a unique way. As 2021 came into view, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want most from this year. My deepest desire is joy.
“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin,” the American satirist H.L. Mencken once wrote. Now, I don’t think I’m quite bad, but as someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, it is easy for me to naturally tend toward cynicism. I assuage my conscience by asserting that I’m not pessimistic, just realistic. Whatever you want to call it, it’s not my favorite personality trait. It’s not a trait that brings the light of Christ to situations. And, though my sarcasm can certainly provide entertainment at times, I am not always someone who exudes warmth, lightness, hope, peace, positivity or zeal. But I want that to change.