I’ve got all my journals and notebooks spread around me this evening. There are orderly lists and quickly jotted notes; two abandoned pens and one with lovely, dark ink that I’m still using. It’s almost the new year. I have a word for the year and a neatly-written list of goals for 2021 set up in my happy, little, habituary.
Entering into 2021 feels pretty heavy at times. This past year was deeply challenging and life altering in so many ways, and I feel as though my view of so many people has been irrevocably altered. At the end of 2020, I’m feeling a little lonelier and sadder than I was at this time last year, but also stronger. I’ve seen what hard times can do to my community and it’s beautiful. Thanks to 2020, I’ve found the friends I can trust, and spent hours nourishing and being nourished.
My word for 2020 felt even more relevant than I’d expected. It was my primary point of focus this year – the home, my domestic hermitage where kids run careless under the trees, prayers are said, and people gather for much-needed hospitality.
For the first time, I felt satisfied with my year’s embodiment of it’s word. 2020 was a domestic year. To be honest, I don’t want that aspect of the year to end. In 2021, my focus on home will continue and build on the work I’ve begun in the past year. So in the coming year, my word укро́мный builds on the cozy domesticity of the previous year, and supports it through the uncertainty of 2021.
This pretty, Russian word means ‘cozy’ and ‘hidden’, or ‘secluded’. Perfect for my tiny, woodland home! And pursuing укро́мный (pronounced “ukromny”) includes all the cozy, domestic aspects of woodland homemaking, as well as the more reclusive and secretive tendencies that began to renew in me during the past year.
What are some of the goals that fall under укро́мный?
Well, first and foremost, I removed my social media. No more Instagram! I’m looking into reducing other aspects of online sharing (though not this blog), and in early January, I’ll be disconnecting my smart phone and phone-based data. Which means I’ll have to leave my house to use internet, and my little yurt will be an entirely offline refuge again! I’m thrilled about this change. I’ll be less accessible to my online friends, but more available to my family those in my little, rural community. The rhythm of daily life will be more natural and more rooted. Plus, my phone bill will drop by half!
In the end of 2020, I reduced my outside commitments. I spent time reviewing what took me away from home, and cutting out anything that felt expendable. These days, my only consistent away-from-home activities are baking with the parish bread ministry and Mass. And while that may seem isolating to some, it actually gives me the time necessary to renew, write, and engage with my family.
These days, I’m being honest with myself about which choices are actually best for me, and which choices are just conventional and easy. Embracing укро́мный is one of those delightful choices that feels right and refreshing after the weight of this past year.
Right now, I’m still in the planning and preparing stage of the journey. I’ve got my good pen and all my journals beside me. Candles are burning and music is playing in the background. I’ll keep you updated on my укро́мный journey.
What are your goals entering into 2021? Are you making a lot of intentions, or just going gently into the new year?