Saturday, December 29, 2012

Transitions: Word of the Year

The end of another year.

Lots of people--and the media--are reflecting on 2012...the good, the bad, the ugly. For those of us who engage in the Word of the Year (also known as Ali Edwards' One Little Word project), it's a time to evaluate how we did with our word for 2012.

Please refrain from grading your performance. We are not in school. There is no report coming to mom and dad in the mail. We're living, and life is messy. Some of us chose the perfect word for the year, and others chose a word that didn't fit the unpredictable events of a whole year. Hindsight is 20/20; foresight is often entirely blind.

If you chose well, celebrate and ride that high into the new year. If you chose a word that simply didn't fit your experience of 2012, don't worry about it.

Be happy you're here to choose again.

My word for 2012 was Gratitude. I chose it because it was easy and appropriate, and it suited where I was in that moment of my life. I was already full of gratitude and wanted to explore more deeply the meaning and benefits of being grateful. I tried several concrete, creative things to increase my gratitude, and most of them fell apart in the busyiness of life.

But you know what? My gratitude increased anyway. I'm happier today, more grateful for today, than I was a year ago. I feel gratitude multiple times every single day without even trying hard, without conscious thought.

No way can I put a grade to the increase or measure my progress in percentages or scores. As Jimmy Buffett says, "I don't want that much control in my life." I'm living life gratefully. And it's good.

Gratitude will move forward in 2013, but I definitely want a new word for focus. I'm feeling restless, as I often do this time of year. Last year was an exception simply because we moved in the week between Christmas and New Year. Nothing like moving house to distract you from restlessness and make you want nothing more than to settle down.

Now that things are back to my weird sort of normal, I reflexively contemplate where I have been, where I am, and where I want to be. What do I want to do next? Are things good the way they are? Do I need a change? What do I need to shake up to keep from stagnating, being bored, or--worse--being boring?

Perhaps you remember the post that started this blog over four years ago?

And that's why this year's word for me will be Intentional. So much of life's busyness puts us into autopilot mode, and that's how I've felt for the last year. We do stuff without thinking about why. Why am I surfing Pinterest for hours on end? Why am I forgetting to check my daily planner every morning? Why do I feel buried under chaos? Why am I not writing as much as I used to write? Why am I going through motions and not noticing details? Why am I not exercising like I should or eating like I should? Why do I have hobbies? Why is papercrafting not as much fun as it used to be?

I want to spend 2013 exploring what it means to be intentional in life. I'm already pretty intentional in many areas, and those areas give me great joy and happiness. As with last year's word, I have some ideas for concrete and creative activities to increase my intentional living. These will likely flop, and that's okay. As with Gratitude, Intentional doesn't have a finish line I must cross in 12 months. It can't be scored or graded.

I'm just grateful for the opportunity to explore intentional living.

What word will you explore in 2013? Please share your transition from 2012 to 2013 in the comments. You never know when something you write helps another person as the year ends and another begins.


  1. Last year was the first year I chose a "word for the year", thanks to your blog post last year. Last year's word was "leap".

    Like you, I still feel this word is very applicable to this coming year. It is a word that I think I need to keep on the top of the list.

    But, also like you, I feel the restlessness for a new word. I haven't settled on anything yet. And maybe it won't happen and "leap" will continue into the New Year. Lucky for me, I still have a couple of days to think on it! LOL!

  2. I watched your gratitude thoughts all year and learned much, but never chose a word for myself.

    I am thinking of choosing "hope" or "forward". I didn't have much hope last year, but am getting there. Also I want to move forward in my life and thinking. So...

  3. Last year I chose "hope". Mostly because of praying intensely for Janelle Hayes. I haven't decided on my word for this year yet. But I'm thinking.

  4. Well, I chose purposeful but I'm rethinking it! LOL Maybe it should be "decisive."

    I look forward to reading your intentional 2013. Have a great year!

  5. May have to echo both your words, Susan. Love them! Doing Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts journal for sure and being intentional is such an important thing as time just passes by so quickly. Thanks for your thoughts and wishing you a blessed New Year :)

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