I’m rather late sharing my word for the year 2014. Why so late? Back in November I already knew that “joy” would be the word for the coming year, and yet I’ve been reluctant to share it because I didn’t want to relinquish “create,” my word for 2013.

Choosing a word of the year is an idea I picked up from Susannah Conway. 2013 was the first time I did this, and I can attest to the power of a guiding word. Create was like a giant exclamation mark in front of my eyes;┬áin fact, I had “create” written on the living room wall opposite my spot on the couch until we had our apartment painted in August.

I did create a lot in 2013: I published twelve articles and essays and have many more in the pipeline. I learned how to chainmaille and made three bracelets. I knitted a bunch of scarves and then I finally cracked the code to read American knitting patterns and knitted a hat for my daughter. I revived my sewing skills and made a slipcover for the couch in the boys room, a long overdue project that I am proud to have tackled. And I made a photo book of my daughter’s 18 years of life for her 18th birthday, a gigantic undertaking that got me thinking about many more photo books to make.

2013 was indeed a creative year, and I trust its momentum will carry me forward to keep creating. I finally reconciled myself to embracing the new word when I realized that taken together “create” and “joy” make a nice imperative: Create joy!

I chose “joy” because I want to learn more about it, and I want to be more aware of joy and savor it when it happens. I’m fortunate that I have plenty of joy in my life, but creating more won’t hurt, and savoring it more won’t hurt either. And I want to learn about what joy actually is, especially small joys. I know already that for me it is often found in certain foods, or in silly undertakings like riding the swinging chairs carousel at an amusement park, which is why I chose that Indiana Beach photo as my photo for encapsulating joy. So, without further ado, here’s to creating joy!