Tuesday, January 4, 2011


If you’ve been reading Questioning for the past two years, you know I have made attempts at having a Word of the Year.

The first year’s word was Simplify.

Let’s just say that sometime in July of 2009, I gave up on Simplify; accepted the crazy complexity of life, the universe and everything; and embraced the word Chaos.


Last year’s word was Write.

Sure, I wrote—just not what I had planned to write. This should have left me feeling like a failure but didn’t, though I am at a complete loss to explain my extreme ambivalence about that.

Given my lack of success with the whole Word of the Year idea, you might be surprised to read that I’m taking another stab at it. This year’s word, however, was carefully chosen to guarantee success. I thought hard about what I do basically all the time with very little effort. Breathe came to mind. Breathing is good. I could breathe all year and feel quite successful.

Then, I berated myself for being an underachiever. I mean, seriously, we breathe in our sleep. Not much of a goal in that, now, is there?

Finally, I settled on Learn.

As you know, I'm an unapologetic geek and therefore addicted to learning anyway, so motivation is not a problem here. Please note that I have not said exactly what I will learn. I don’t know. That’s sort of the point, actually. It's the serendipity of the whole exercise: you never know what you'll learn on any given day.

For instance, a few weeks ago, I watched an utterly fascinating show about ancient Roman engineering. I learned a lot about how amazing the Romans were at building stuff (aqua ducts, the Coliseum, domes) and watched modern engineers try to duplicate their methods. It was the best two hours of television I’ve watched in a long time, and I just stumbled across it while channel surfing.

A couple night's ago, Mom, George, and I were watching television, and we all three learned that eels have a second jaw that shoots forward from behind their front jaw and pulls food into their throats. That's how an idiot diver lost his thumb while feeding an eel.

I'm not sure what I'll do with this nugget of knowledge because I would never be caught allowing an eel to grab my thumb in the first place, but learning isn't necessarily supposed to be practical. It's just supposed to be cool.

And easy, too, because there is so very much in this world that I don't know. I can't help but bump into new stuff to learn pretty much every single day. So that’s what I plan on doing.

Now it’s your turn. If you had a word for 2010, what was it and were you true to it? What will be your Word for 2011? Please share. As you let me know, I’ll update the list below.

2011 Words
Me: Learn
George: Relax
Mom: Practice
Starla: Leap
Sue B.: Celebrate
Francie: Appreciate
Sue: Satisfied
Susan K.: Bigger
Lisa: Free

NOTE: The complete list of words is on THIS POST.


  1. Last year I went with Fearless and I did find out some very interesting things about fear and about conquering my fears. In 2011 I will be BIGGER. (No that doesn't mean I'm trying to gain weight LOL)

  2. Mine is "appreciate." Squash my inner Madame Bovary and appreciate the people I love and the life I'm living.

  3. Actually, this year was the first year that I decided to chose a word.
    Mine: LEAP.
    Trying not to let my insecurities and such get in the way of trying something new (I'll spare you the whole essay that I already did on my blog)...
    I like Learn. I just might have to borrow that for next year!!

  4. I've been working on my 2011 word for awhile now. I've finally decided on "Free". The word has so much meaning depending on where your mind is at.

  5. Originally I thought my word would be Patience, but now I think it should be Consistency. If I picked a phrase, it might be Blog More.

    How about Decisive??

  6. Susan, I didn't have a word to live by last year, but looking back I'd say it should have been "procrastinate" LOL! I'll do better this year, I promised myself. So, this year I have 2 words -"act" - don't put it off. And my other word for this year is "kind" - I want to practice kindness, and use only kind words in my dealings with people, no matter the circumstance.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!