Salud.

On a normal year, my first visit to a doctor doesn’t usually occur until late February or early March, when I undoubtedly catch some sort of bug and my GP gives me a bunch of antibiotics and tells me to start using my inhalers again. (That, despite the fact that I haven’t had any sign of asthma for almost a decade now.)

This year, my first visit to the doctor took place five days into 2011. It was a scheduled appointment, and while I was there, my GP and I set out a plan for how we’re going to work together to to fix a few things that I’ve been struggling with the past few months.

I’m not usually a fan of going to the doctor’s office, but I came out of this appointment feeling good, excited for the year ahead.

Every year, instead of setting resolutions, I pick a word that is a guiding theme for the next 365 days.

My word last year was meaning. When I picked it, I didn’t realize that it was a double-edged sword. When you consciously reflect on the significance and meaning of every action, situation, and decision, the outlook isn’t always rosy; sometimes, searching for meaning intensifies pain and sorrow, and deep reflection can make you realize that things aren’t as great as you had hoped or thought they were.

This year, my word of the year is “health.”

2010 was a difficult year. It contained many moments of joy and excitement, yes, but it was also full of some acute difficulties that make me realize, on reflection, that things aren’t quite right, right now. 2011 is my year to start fixing those things.

This year, I’m looking out for my health.

I’m watching out for my physical health, hoping to take big steps to eventually get off the medications I currently take. I’m watching out for my mental health, hoping to make time for the things that inspire, invigorate, and intrigue me. I’m watching out for my emotional health, hoping to distance myself from the sometimes-hurtful actions of others. I’m watching out for my financial health, hoping to re-think how I save and prepare for the future. I’m watching out for the health of my relationships, hoping to pull away from the friendships that cause me pain and make sure I don’t get caught in one-way relationships where I feel taken for granted.

I’m watching out for my health in 2011.

My visit to the doctor early in the year was the first step, but there’s a lot more left to do.