My word of the year for 2021 is OVERFLOWING. 

I want to create a life so lovely that I overflow with all good things. A life that is so full and fulfilling and life-giving that I can’t help but spill over and share it with others. 

My cup runneth over. 

I want to create a life that’s overflowing with:


Here’s how I plan to make it happen. 

(Featuring images from my 2021 dream board)

OVERFLOWING 2021 Dream Board - Top

Beauty and Wonder

At the beginning of this month, I noticed that my mental health was disturbingly low. I felt like I had lost the buoyant emotional baseline that I worked so hard to create over the last couple of years. 

A pandemic will do that to you. 

So I decided to enact what I call “red alert” status. I made taking care of myself my #1 priority, every single day. The first thing I did was get myself outside as much as humanly possible. 

I did yoga outside. I took zoom meetings outside. I ate meals outside. And it seemed to help. 

Recently I’ve been deeply inspired by YouTube creators like Jonna Jinton, 李子柒 Liziqi, Daughter of Old, and TheCottageFairy

I am in LOVE with the gorgeous nature they show, and the deep-in-the-countryside life they all live. I often feel an intense longing to be out there with them, seeing that kind of unbelievable beauty every day. 

Then I realized that I live in one of the most beautiful regions in Texas. I just have to go out and see it for myself. 

I’ve been hiking 3 times since I had that realization. And I felt measurably better after each adventure. 

The weather in Austin was perfect (before the freaking polar vortex), and my state parks pass made these adventures super easy. I soaked up enough sunshine to make up for a whole dreary winter indoors. 

My goal for 2021 is to continue overflowing my cup with the medicine of nature, and to document that beauty for others. Maybe you can be inspired by it just like I am.

OVERFLOWING 2021 Dream Board - Fantasy

Fantasy and Magic

This is a big one. After a year in quarantine, I find that some of my best experiences occur while reading and experiencing fantasy stories. 

Fantasy is a gold star form of escapism. I’m excited to experience more of it. 

My TBR for this year is basically a big ol’ stack of fantasy novels. I want to catch up on all the amazing YA series that I missed in previous years. I want to fall in love with the characters and explore new worlds and get excited by magic and adventure. 

Here are a few titles I’m excited to dive into this year: 

  • Literally everything by Sarah J Maas (new fangirl joining the party)
  • Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis
  • The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Strange the Dreamer series by Laini Taylor 
  • Spinning Silver and Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare 
  • An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir
  • Anything by V.E. Schwab
  • Anything by Brandon Sanderson

That’s not enough. I’ve also been nurturing a deeper interest in folklore and fairy tales, and plan on continuing my education in 2021. 

So far, I’ve already taken one course on Grimm’s tales via Zoom. I read fairy tales every night in bed before I go to sleep. I signed up for email newsletters full of fairy tale discourse. And I joined a Facebook group for a folklore and fantasy school. 

I’m super excited about all of the magic that’s coming my way!

OVERFLOWING 2021 Dream Board - Creativity

Music and Creativity

This year I’m excited to continue making music at home and (hopefully) with others. 

I really enjoy playing my piano, and am excited to work on several new pieces this year. I’m also looking forward to a time when I can sing with the Chorus Austin Chamber Ensemble in person again. 

My main goal with music this year is to share more musical moments on my social media. I’m not sure why this is important to me, but I really want to share more of that side of myself with you. 

Elsewhere in creativity, I’m really excited to draft and sew my first ever Gunne Sax inspired dress this year. Here’s a Pinterest board of all the ideas I’ve collected, for those of you who haven’t experienced the Gunne Sax joy yet! I just love the fantasy-inspired elements and the flattering feminine silhouettes. 

I also want to experiment with making some fairy-inspired clothing like this. My ideal aesthetic right now is elegant forest fairy (lol), and I’m excited to start leaning more into it! Lots of green. Lots of texture.

Finally, I’m really interested in experimenting with self portraiture this year. 

I’m going to be spending much more time outside in nature, and I’d love to incorporate photo shoots into that plan. I’m not sure why I’m loving this idea, but I’m really inspired by it. 

Expect to see way more of my face (and my braids) on Instagram this year!

OVERFLOWING 2021 Dream Board - Friendship

Friendship and Generosity

Speaking of Instagram– over the past year in isolation, I’ve had a lot of time to think about my friendships. 

I’ve always been the kind of person who maintains several close friendships with individual people (as opposed to having a big group of friends). This year I realized that one of the major ways I can stay in touch with those dear friends is by being more active on social media. 

It’s kindof counterintuitive, in a way. 

We think of social media as an impersonal, inauthentic facade. But I’ve seen firsthand that when I post more and I comment more on my friends’ posts, we have more interactions on a weekly basis. 

If I keep my feed truly authentic and share all the sides of my real life, I see this as a great way to let my friends see more of me and what’s going on in my life. 

I also have this kindof crazy dream: If I became more active on social media, could I be able to grow a community of people around me who are interested in the same things I am? Maybe I could even make a couple of new friends. 

I’m not diving head first into this, by any means. But it’s definitely something I’m thinking about. 

This year I’d love to overflow with love and generosity for my friends by being there for them and reaching out more often and giving them lovely gifts and letters. I don’t want to isolate anymore. I want those relationships to bloom. 

I want to share that kind of generosity with my coworkers, my family, my partner and our pups, and the greater Austin community through continuing to explore volunteer work.

And I’m hoping that I’ll also be really present when experiencing the outpouring of love that I receive in return.  

OVERFLOWING 2021 Dream Board - Drake

Building a Fulfilling Life, One Step at a Time

Those are the building blocks I’m using to create a foundation for an OVERFLOWING year in 2021. 

What I love most about the “word of the year” concept is that it’s flexible. I set monthly goals that excite me, under the umbrella of this overarching theme. 

I’m excited to see how I manage to make my life overflow by the end of the year. 

Are there any goals you’re really excited about this year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below! 

My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23