They had me at "house made liquor." Our waiter described the drink as light and herbaceous and he was absolutely right. The drink defies description. It was tasty and odd and it had house made liquor. Best of all, it was named Bandit.
I picked up my drink and pronounced, half-joking, to my birthday companions, "I'm a bandit."
"You are!" They cheerfully agreed, bless them.
I took another sip of the concoction, an idea brewing its way to the surface.
I glanced at Abby and said, "Bandit should be my One Word." Again, half-joking. Or maybe half-serious. The table laughed along but there was something about this word that had our attention.
Why not choose Bandit as a guide for this year?
I've chosen One Word the last few years, usually with great results. But last year's word was a failure. Some of my friends have positively reframed it by saying I committed to myself, which I did and there's much fruit from those decisions. True, not committing to the other 4 categories was actually the right thing for me to do but also true: I didn't commit.
In light of this, I decided not to pick a word for this year. I know where I need to grow and I'll just keep working on that, thankyouverymuch.
And then Bandit happened.
Why does this word intrigue me so? And am I really going to make it my One Word?
Apparently I am.
I looked up the definition and it's not precisely what I'm going for.
I don't plan on robbing or taking advantage of anyone. Nor do I have any unlicensed businesses up my sleeve. But I love the idea of "making out like a bandit." Of success and profit. I love the thought of wearing a devil-may-care attitude. I picture myself metaphorically yelling, "I do what I want [insert curse words]!"
(Also I like how whenever I've mentioned Bandit the past couple of weeks, my friend Megan responds with, "like a BANDIT." She's caught the spirit.)
In many ways, 2014 is a black hole of unknowing. This month I'm retiring my social work license. As the renewal date drew near, I accepted I don't want to practice as a social worker right now and maybe not ever again. If I change my mind, I'll do what needs doing to reactivate my license. This act speaks of freedom for me. But this also means I have even less of a clue of what's next. I don't have to make any decisions now but in the next year or two, it'll be time for a new job.
Maybe Bandit will help me figure it out. Or maybe it'll help me worry less about what's next.
I want to kick jealousies and insecurities to the curb. I want to write because I want to, not because there are deadlines to meet and platforms to build and I don't want my readers to leave. I want to stop checking my stats because in the end, I only ever feel like I don't measure up and this extends to almost every area of my life. I don't know how to stop comparing myself to everyone or anything.
But Bandits could care less about this stuff. A Bandit does what she wants. She doesn't apologize for who she is. She owns it. Maybe she'll be too much for some people but there are a ton more who love her for who she is.
I'm forging my own path. I'm going to stop robbing myself of joy. I want to start writing fiction again. I like being spontaneous and laughing my heart out and generally not giving a rip about stuff that doesn't matter. It's so easy to forget and get caught up in All The Seriousness.
The other day my best friends and I blasted Ben Folds' song Magic in the car and danced in the street. That's who I am. Why do I forget that?
Bandit is going to be my touchstone. What would a Bandit do?
This beer label is right. There's a rogue, or a bandit, in all of us. Let's play.