A piece of paper written "fuck off 2020" hanging on a wallcredits

3 words for 2021

14 Jan 2021
14 Jan 2021
4 minutes

We are finally done with 2020! Obviously, this year will get some reverberating effects from the last awful one, but let’s hope for the best. New years means resolutions for many. For me, it’s been a couple of years that I’m defining three words that will help me guide my next year. The previous ones were

  • 2020: self-love, intentional, meaningful
  • 2019: I forgot to define them 🤦‍♂️
  • 2018: energy, mindful, actions
  • 2017: freedom, focus, now
  • 2016: myself, why, truth
  • 2015: health, less, experience
  • 2014: quality, impact, minimalism
  • 2013: kaizen, time, discovery

In my not so humble opinion, this year will look a lot like the last one. It means staying home, limited social interactions and not much traveling. It’s why I decided to focus even more on personal development. Thus, 2021 will be guided by the words Buddhism, ego and habits.

Buddhism

It’s no secret that I started to take Buddhism courses last year. I have interest in this philosophy since I took a meditation introduction years ago. I read some books, but never went further. At the beginning of the pandemic I decided to look for Buddhist teaching in MontrĂ©al. I found a local Tibetan Buddhist organization. Happily enough, they were offering online courses because “making frantic gesture with my hands pointing everywhere”… Since March, I took nine courses, and I plan to continue at the rate of one course per quarter. The reason it is a word for this year is because I want to take it to the next step, and not simply taking courses. I want to read the books used for the courses and challenge the printed words. I want to take the time to learn and more importantly, understanding the meaning.

Don’t be afraid my friends, Buddhist isn’t a religion nor a sect; it’s a philosophy, a complex one for that matter! Some aspects seems close enough, but the big differences are

  1. Our teachers challenges us to doubt everything from the Lamrim (Tibetan Buddhist writings). They don’t ask us to believe blindly.
  2. There is no supreme entity that is there to help us: Buddha is an inspiration, an example, but he is not a God-alike.

Yes, I have an altar at home: it is simply an area auspicious to reflections and a meditative state of mind.

Ego

My ego is larger than the average person, no discussions here, but I don’t think it’s out of proportion either. Let’s normalize a healthy dose of self-belief, and being proud of yourself. What I’m talking about here is the concept of the self. It is, in fact, coming from my learning of Buddhism. It unfortunately brings a lot of negative or unwanted emotions in our life. As my preferred teacher* often says, “We give ourselves too much importance. The result is that things happens to us instead of things happen.”. I paraphrase her, but you get the gist of it. I spare you the details, but it’s much more than that: it is causing us many mental afflictions. So don’t expect me to change too much; it will be internal work, hard work I should say.

Habits

One way I cope with some of my ADHD symptoms is by having a routine. I’m never as good as I would like. This year, I’ll try to be more intentional about them, trying to add healthier habits to my routine. It seems like it’s a simple thing to do, but it’s not for me. By choosing habits as one of my words, it helps me focus on what is important, and better take care of myself.

I may be a dreamer, but I expect 2021 to be better than 2020, even if it means just living a bit more. I was so anxious during the first couple of months of the pandemic. I socially-distanced saw my friends only once before the harsh cold of the MontrĂ©al winter chimed in. I was not even going out for walks… By still being as careful as before, life should be a bit better for me. I definitely welcome a year guided by the words I choose!

 

* Not you Maya…