San Francisco, CA | December 17, 2016 | 4:12pm
For the past two years, my new year's resolutions have been twofold - a one word intention, followed by a long list of specific goals. In 2015, my intention was freedom. Some of my goals included getting certified to scuba dive, learning how to rock climb, and memorizing the geologic timescale.
In 2016, my word was patience. Some of my goals: traveling to Cuba, running a 50K race in the mountains, and learning how to fly drones. My one-word intention turned out to be pretty crucial as I dealt with a chronic pain in my right ankle (I never did run that 50K, and it's very unlikely that I ever will, but that's okay.) I had to be patient and understanding when I realized I wouldn't be able to get to Cuba. And I utilized that patience again as I learned the ins and outs of drone technology. Meanwhile, I continued (slowly but surely) to build on my goals from 2015: I learned how to rappel, and I stood on the ocean floor at a depth of 110 feet.
A few weeks ago, right after I got home from San Francisco, I went out to dinner with my dear friend and personal creative muse, Jon Haas. I have lots of incredible friends, but none of them inspire me and push me in the ways that Haas does. When I posed the question, "what should my intention for 2017 be?" he gave me an immediate, yet thoughtful, response.
I let it seep into my mind. I slept on it. I thought about it as I biked to work the next morning. I googled it. Expansion (n.) - the action of becoming larger or more extensive. Anything spread out; expanse.
The words, ideas and imagery it brought to my mind resonated with me, and with my goals for this year. I have a good foundation for a lot of knowledge and skill sets and experiences, but I need to expand them.
In 2017, I want to expand my climbing and diving abilities - I want to learn how to lead climb, climb at least one 4K mountain, get my Nitrox certification, and go scuba diving at night. I want to exercise my brain by reading 50 books, memorizing every country and capital city in the world, studying some Shakespeare for the first time since high school, and painting with water colors.
"Anything spread out" fits well with my travel plans for 2017 thus far, which include many trips to the western continental United States, specifically Arizona, Texas, Montana, California, Washington, and Utah. Places with vast stretches of land and massive skies - places where I can breathe really deeply, and feel my lungs - and maybe my heart - expand a little bit.