It’s that time again.
When people do a little dance with their gray matter and attempt to capture an entire year in a single word.
Okay, sometimes it’s two words.
Maybe even three.
Or a whole phrase.
But however many words are on the agenda, it always makes me tense up.
It feels reductive. Constrained.
And I can’t help wondering: is this ratcheting down of our lives just another way to give us the illusion of control?
Of course, I do get the one word madness. So please don’t take this personally if you’ve decided to encapsulate your year into one word.
I know how compelling it is to name things. An act of the inner magician. Because when we use words to access the power of naming we transform our view of ourselves and our lives. We reach for our potential, and shout it out to the world.
And hey, I’m all for that.
But one or two words? C’mon. I fail miserably when I try to describe anything in my life in one or two words. Apparently, I need a lot more than that.
Case in point: when my memory drifts back to last year, the words bump right up against the starting gate, like race horses before the bell rings. This jockey can barely contain them: love, chaos, kisses, play, grief, earth, water, waves, colors, gratitude, confusion, songs, tears, ideas, cantankerous, music, obsessions, flowers, dancing.
And one word for this unfolding year? About the best I can do is recite what I often say: Why. Not. Start. Now. Because isn’t that what we do at the dawning of a new year? We take a step. We begin.
Then life comes flying at us, with all its glorious eccentricities.
And I could probably write a thousand words about that alone. But don’t worry. I’m not going to.
Instead, I’ll tell you that I want you (and me) to have more than a few measly words. I want you to have as many as you need. A basket. A bushel. A bounty, if necessary.