My One Word for 2021 #OneWord2021


pine-cone-sig

 

I’ve been participating in One Word since 2017. Wow. Five years.

This quote from 2018 says it all:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

I’m feeling a bit like Scrooge. Another year? Another One Word? Bah! Humbug.

And so, of course, I was in for a visit from… 馃懟 馃帄馃帀

The Posts of New Year’s Past:

 

One Word for 2020 was:聽Focus. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm? Fab plan, lady. Alas…

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea. I鈥檓 still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. A little. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

 

What I’ve learned from these Posts of New Year’s Past is I’m trying to be positive, providing some word to nurture, encourage, help… That’s lovely, but something was pulling me away from that. 2020 was a tough year. For many people. For many reasons. The celebration of that year being over is everywhere.

I’m not celebrating. Not yet.

I decided I’m not going to force positivity on myself. Oh, I know I mean well but, hell, things kind of suck at the moment, new year or not. Why not acknowledge the suckiness? And why force positivity when we all know that never works?

When you shove those negative feelings down, they resurface. Always. In one way or another, they bob up like a rubber duck in a tub.

So I’m going with a negative One Word this year.

Sort of.

I’m acknowledging the negativity that clouds my life and letting myself know it’s okay to not be okay about it.

My focus word for 2021:

ALLOW

With everything going on, I’m giving myself permission to feel however I need to feel. If I feel bad, that’s okay. If I feel sad, that’s okay. If I feel stressed, angry, or hurt, that’s okay.

No guilt. No “should”. None of that nonsense.

I’m allowed to feel however I feel.

If I happen to feel good, or even happy, that’s allowed, too. So, yay.

As always, a definition (*nerd alert*):

allow

[蓹藞lou]

verb聽
  • give (someone) permission to do something.

grant someone the right 路聽give one’s blessing toapprove of聽路聽give the go-ahead to聽路聽give the thumbs up to 路聽give the OK to聽路聽give the green light to

I’ve got the green light here, my friends. The go-ahead. The thumbs-up. I’ve been granted the right and given a blessing. What else could I ask for?

  • give the necessary time or opportunity for.

Time and opportunity to feel. I guess that’s what else I could have asked for. *shrugs* Got it.

  • admit (an event or activity) as legal or acceptable.

My feelings are hereby legal and acceptable. Right on.

I’m allowing myself to feel however the hell I feel without the dreaded “should” and “shouldn’t”. And without guilt. I’m allowing my feelings to break free of that self-imposed New Year’s cocoon of positivity, emerging in whatever shape, size, and color they are. If I feel angry, well, The Hulk and I can hang out for a bit. If I feel sad, so be it. If I happen to feel happy, it’s going to be a genuine bubbling glass of joy.

 

Happy New Year, my friends. 鉂 Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 馃

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2021.

My One Word for 2020 #OneWord2020

 

pine-cone-sig

 

I was going to switch this up a bit for 2020 but guess what? I’m not. This is (unfortunately) perfect:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Seriously. Like Move Yer Arse, Girl! Or, you know, something nicer, like, Excuse me but would you mind moving? Same, same. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea.

I’m still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

my One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

my One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

Well. Isn’t that something? And here we are again. Another year, another word. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

 

I’ve noticed my blog has its share of posts about overwhelm. Just a few, really, not, like, dozens. Ahem. So I got to thinking about being overwhelmed. Too much. Too many things. So, naturally, I need to make lists. And prioritize. That will work. Except for the times it doesn’t. Which is to say always. Or never. Whatever.

I’ve got to sort out my priorities. This is more important than that. That is more pressing than the other. Things get put on The List, shifted, knocked down a number, back up, and so forth and, soon enough, nothing is done.

So, instead of putting my life on a piece of paper in order of importance, I’m changing my mindset. (FYI, this is always,聽always, a good idea. You should try it.) I’ve always sucked at multi-tasking but I’m not sure that’s what this is anymore. I’m thinking it’s more that I’m utterly unfocused.

So here is my ironic focus word for 2020:

FOCUS

I was at a cemetery last month and grabbed my phone to take a picture.

When I tapped on the screen to focus on the little pinecone in my face, the gravestones blurred in the background. And vice versa. Right? Because whether it’s a mobile phone or a fancy camera, it cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.

I hadn’t written my One Word post yet but, there, right then, in that cemetery, I wrote it in my head.

I’m not prioritizing the pinecone over the gravestone. But if I try to focus on both of them, they’re both blurry and I don’t get either one. If I tap and zoom in on one, I get an amazing shot. Then, *tap*, another great shot. Done.

Obviously, there will be times when something will demand my focus be drawn to that issue or situation but I will focus on it and move on.

If I’m constantly trying to focus on everything, then everything is out of focus.

Narrow my focus and, boom, I’ve got a clear shot.

As always, a definition (because I’m a nerd):

 

focus

/f艒k蓹s/

noun

  • the center of interest or activity.

center, focal point, center of attention

Get me a spotlight, man. I’m shining it on whatever shit needs attention. Laser focused, my friends.聽

  • the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

clear, clear-cut, well-defined

Producing a well-defined, clear-cut visual? Please hold. Your patience is appreciated. The clear visual will be with you shortly.聽

verb

  • (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Seeing clearly? Yes, please. Adapting and becoming able to see clearly are HUGE challenges for me. Two great goals. 聽

  • pay particular attention to.

give emphasis to, highlight

Dude, this makes me want to whip out one of those big, neon yellow markers and highlight the hell out of the book of my life. On it!

 

I’m going to focus this year. I know I said this last year but 2020 will see another book from me. The manuscripts are sitting here glaring at me. They are more patient than I.

Happy New Year, my friends. 鉂 Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 馃

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2020.

 

When the Year Grows Old

 

When the Year Grows Old

And often when the brown leaves
Were brittle on the ground,
And the wind in the chimney
Made a melancholy sound,

She had a look about her
That I wish I could forget–
The look of a scared thing
Sitting in a net…

But the roaring of the fire,
And the warmth of fur,
And the boiling of the kettle
Were beautiful to her…

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

The year has grown old, died, and been reborn. It is ‘new’. There are beginnings. Yet I acutely feel the year growing old.

When the clock struck midnight December 31st, when the calendar ceased to count days for 2019鈥hat happened?

Nothing.

It’s as if I鈥檓 waiting for some unknown force to press the ‘reset’ button.

As I work on my One Word for 2020, I realize I鈥檓 stuck. Not in my decision of which word to choose but in the way I feel caught at the end of last year. In a time when I listened to the wind whistling a melancholy tune and brittle leaves scraped the window panes, begging to be let inside.

When I had the look of a frightened bird flapping helplessly inside a net.

Yet there is a difference. The trap has weakened, loosened. I can breathe.

I find familiarity in the world around me and there is comfort and beauty in that. In the moments when I take that first sip of coffee, tie my hair up with an elastic band, lace my warm, winter boots. When I lose myself in sunlight creating intricate patterns on my floor or notice wind catching a hydrangea flower hidden since last spring.

Sometimes, when the stress is too much, when the weight is too heavy, when the ropes are too tight, our struggles increase the pain. Sometimes relaxing into the discomfort and fear is all we can do and, sometimes, that shifts our world enough to see the beauty.

 

Health and happiness to you, gentle readers.

 

My One Word for 2019 #OneWord2019

 

pine-cone-sig

 

Wow. So this is fun. I love reading posts from past years and seeing I’ve learned my lesson…

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

So, last year, my One Word for 2018 was: Self.

It was a good choice. It worked. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

The year before that, my One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

And…here I go again. Another year, another word, another promise. Despite everything, I really do believe in the power of focus words (and in the power of me not failing). Success to me and my One Word!

It’s difficult choosing just one word when we writers love language the way we do, but, unlike past years, it wasn’t too bad this time. I’ll say right up front, I did shop around for synonyms because it’s not a pretty word but, eh, what the hell. Here it is, my friends:

MOVE

As I said, not the most beautiful word but, seriously, check this out:

 

move

/mo蜑ov/

verb

  • go in a specified direction or manner; change position.

proceed, progress, advance

Proceed? Advance? Count me in.

  • change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another.

change, shift one鈥檚 ground, change one鈥檚 tune

Changing opinion/activity as we speak (or, read, whatever). Already whistling another tune, my friends. Done.

  • take action, act, take steps, do something

inspire, prompt, motivate

鈥渟he was moved to act鈥

Dude, just reading this makes me want to DO SOMETHING. Watch me take action. I am motivated! I am moved to act!

  • provoke a strong feeling, especially of sorrow or sympathy, in.

stir up (an emotion) in someone

affect, touch, upset, disturb, make an impression on

鈥淚 was deeply moved by the story鈥

This. Yes. This is what I hope to accomplish with my writing so I’m keeping this one in here. I would love to provoke strong feelings in readers. Affect people. Even upset or disturb them with my stories. It’s all good as long as it makes an impression.

  • make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction.

make progress, advance, develop

I’m marching here. I am. Advancing. Stepping ALL OVER the enemies: self-doubt, imposter syndrome, procrastination, stress, overwhelm… I am making progress!

 

I’m moving. And 2019 will see another book from me. (Preferably two.) Here’s to moving, my friends! 鉂

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2019.

 

My One Word for 2018 #OneWord2018

 

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Well, I did a bang up job last year with my One Word for 2017: Accept. I didn’t. I raged, raged against the…everything. It was brutal choosing a focus for the year and I faltered. Failed. Time to move on.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I don’t do ‘resolutions’. However, I do believe (previous failure aside) a focus for the year is an excellent idea.

This is how I figured 2017 would work out. It did not. But, still, props for trying:

Choosing ONE word for the entire year? Not easy. I finally narrowed it down to three:

Present

Engage

Accept

I want to be more present in my life and I realized that, if I fully engage, I can be. And to engage, I need to accept some things. (This is how I worked it out, anyway.)

Therefore, my one word this year is:

Accept

 

I’m going to try again.

I’ve really had a time of it, this year, choosing a word. I even thought of cheating and picking two (or three). But, if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do it right. So I’ll work it out again.

I like the words I narrowed it down to:

Present

Mindful

 

I had passing thoughts of choosing something like Assertiveness, Determination, or Focus but they didn’t feel quite right. It’s just that I’ve been yammering on this past year about standing my ground, choosing me, sticking up for myself, keeping on target, saying “NO”, etc. so these seemed good, too.

It’s all about me, right? Sure. Why not? I went into this weird line of hyphenated “self” stuff:

Self-Esteem

Self-Motivation

Self-Care

Self-Awareness

Self-Kindness

Self… Er…

Self… Um…

Self-Centered

Self…ish

 

Crap. Never mind.

But I do need something “self”-like.

So, when continuing to narrow down my choice, I decided it must include me.

 

I’m sick of being stressed-out and overwhelmed, of not doing what I love, of doing things I’d really rather not be doing. I’m sick of ALL OF THE THINGS!

 

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

Forget it! I’m done. Or, at least, my OneWord is done. And here it is:

Self

This is my favorite definition from Webster鈥檚 New Explorer College Dictionary:

 

self

combining form: to, with, for, or toward oneself

 

See? I’ll be kind to, gentle with, caring for, considerate toward…myself. Brilliant.

By choosing Self, I’ll be incorporating all sorts of other wonderful words I’ve been thinking of here: Awareness, Mindful, Focus, Kindness… How can I have Self in front of me and actively abuse or dismiss it? I cannot. It would be awkward. And weird. And mean.

As I said last year, this is not going to be easy. I’ve got to change my whole mindset to get to the point where Self is what I focus on first. I’m up for the challenge though.

I’m taking my Self out of here, wishing you a Happy New Year and hoping you all can find a perfect OneWord for 2018. 鉂

 

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2018.

 

Happy Holidays

 

sun-and-pine-tree_holidays-sig

 

Snow and Sun settle

Upon the slumbering pines

Yuletide gleaming bright

The longest night – hidden hope

Darkness surrenders to light

A Winter Solstice tanka for you, gentle readers.

May you find peace & joy this holiday season.

 

鉂勶笍 Happy Holidays 鉂勶笍

 

 

My One Word for 2017 #OneWord2017

 

pine-cone-sig

 

Choosing ONE word for the entire year? Not easy. I finally narrowed it down to three:

Present

Engage

Accept

I want to be more present in my life and I realized that, if I fully engage, I can be. And to engage, I need to accept some things. (This is how I worked it out, anyway.)

Therefore, my one word this year is:

Accept

I hear you sneering (or perhaps it鈥檚 me), 鈥淎ccept?! You鈥檙e just going to accept whatever happens? That鈥檚 so鈥o鈥︹

Crap, huh?

To accept something seems passive.

However, I am choosing this word as my focus for the entire year above all the other glorious words in the English language. I鈥檝e thought a lot about this.

I lost count of how many times I鈥檝e caught myself saying, 鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe this happened.鈥 Or 鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe she did that.鈥

鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe鈥︹ Well, gentle readers, it鈥檚 about time I start believing some things, you know?

Accept.

The Webster鈥檚 New Explorer College Dictionary definition:

 

ac路cept

verb: to receive as true

 

Ah. Truth. Now we鈥檙e getting somewhere.

I do not mean 鈥済et over it鈥, 鈥渢hat鈥檚 the way it is鈥, or 鈥済ive up鈥.

I鈥檝e heard “accept” used in these ways my whole life so it has always had a negative connotation for me.

Now I鈥檓 going to flip this word on its ass and my attitude is going with it.

I will not accept that the roof is leaking in the sense that I鈥檒l shrug and live with a leaky roof. I鈥檒l accept that the roof is leaking in the sense that once I accept it, I will do something about it.

Accepting my life the way it is doesn鈥檛 mean I won鈥檛 keep fighting. It means I will receive it as true instead of raging about how it shouldn鈥檛 be this way. It is, dude. It really is that way.

I need to act.

But acceptance isn鈥檛 the act, it鈥檚 what precipitates the act.

Accepting something isn鈥檛 the end, it鈥檚 the beginning. 鈥淚 accept this鈥ow what am I going to do about it?鈥

This is not going to be easy for me. Eh. I accept that.

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I鈥檇 love to hear what your One Word is for 2017.

 

The Scrooge of New Year’s Day

 

bah-humbug-2016-sig

 

I don鈥檛 do New Year鈥檚 resolutions.

For January 1st, I鈥檝e never quit smoking, gone on a diet, bought a gym membership, or sworn to save money.

When this holiday rolls around, I don鈥檛 sit and reflect. I barely give a thought to the past year except to say, 鈥淗uh. That sucked. Hope next year is better.鈥

And it isn鈥檛.

It carries over our current problems because they can鈥檛 be magically fixed overnight. It also delivers a whole host of new and different problems. So that鈥檚 exciting.

But that鈥檚 life, isn鈥檛 it?

We have our ups and downs. All of us. And some things are out of our control.

I will not set myself up to 鈥渇ix鈥 something I can鈥檛 fix or to 鈥渟tart鈥 something I can鈥檛 start. If I make a resolution to lose weight or exercise when my health prohibits it at the moment, I鈥檓 setting myself up for failure and inevitable misery. Wonderful way to start the year.

The thing is, as I said in 2014, I feel pressured to look back over my year and write something meaningful. I simply don鈥檛 want to.

So I will do what I always do. Which is to say that I will be aware. Of my life, my actions, my reactions鈥verything. I will learn new things, set goals, better myself, and change what鈥檚 not working. I will try to make my life more positive. And I will do this throughout the year, not just the first few weeks in January.

I will ring in the New Year on December 31st but I will check in with myself all year.

 

Happy New Year, gentle readers.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (a wee bit over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

Do you make New Year鈥檚 resolutions? Do you stick to them? (Let鈥檚 be honest鈥re they even realistic?)

 

Something new I鈥檓 doing this year is choosing a word: One Word. Something to focus on for the upcoming year. Look for my choice in next week’s post. It’s a fantastic alternative to resolutions.

 

This post from last year (The Scrooge of New Year’s Eve) really sums up how I feel about this holiday. I planned to repost it verbatim but wound up editing it quite a bit. Perhaps a fun challenge could be to see how accurate this post is each year. ?

 

Happy Holidays!

 

sun-and-pine-tree_holidays-sig

 

Snow and Sun settle

Upon the slumbering pines

Yuletide gleaming bright

A winter haiku for you, gentle readers. May your days be merry & bright.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season! 鉂勶笍

 

Dream a Little Dream for Me

 

I stopped in the middle of my New Year’s Eve walk to take in this moment鈥攖he sun setting on December 31st, 2015.

 

new years eve sunset - sig

 

I stood on the path and thought about my recent posts. I鈥檝e been talking a lot about true colors, my identity crisis, and letting go.

I reread these past few pieces and saw a theme: I鈥檓 unhappy with how I perceive myself and how I’ve presented myself to the world.

I had limited space to write a bio about who I am and what did I put in that profile? 鈥淢um. Lifestyle Writer.鈥 Really? That鈥檚 who I am? That’s not who I want to be.

And so the sun sets on my old life. It’s bittersweet.

I know I’m supposed to be optimistic in the beginning of January with everything I’m going to accomplish for the New Year. But, as I said in my Scrooge post, I don鈥檛 make resolutions.

I do, however, set goals for myself throughout the year.

Have you ever considered quitting to be a goal?

I know the definition of 鈥渜uit鈥. I know the connotation of it, as well. (I love turning connotations on their heads.) Quitting is considered bad, something you shouldn’t do.

Ever thought about it in a positive way? Because, of course, we should quit bad habits. I’m all for quitting a job you hate. And, personally, I feel it鈥檚 an excellent decision to quit reading a book you’re not enjoying when there are so many good books out there.

What happens when you realize that a dream you鈥檝e harbored for over thirty years isn鈥檛 working? When you finally realize that you鈥檙e not very good at it? Do you hold on for dear life to that one dream or let it go so you have a chance to discover something else you like that you might actually be good at?

You鈥檝e always wanted to be a ballerina and have worked your whole life to get the lead in The Nutcracker but you鈥檝e only ever been able to get a part as one of the Mouse King鈥檚 minions.

There has to be a time when quitting isn’t bad but actually the best thing you can do for yourself. And that time for me is now.

I’m quitting writing.

I don’t enjoy the type of writing I’m doing and had made a decision to switch genres from nonfiction to fiction.

And that was when I had a painful realization… I suck at writing fiction.

I have nothing waiting for me to fill the emptiness where my dream used to be. But I’ve never been one to wait until something better comes along. I will bury my dream. Or, if it sounds better, I will let go of my dream and watch it sail away on the breeze.

People have lots to say about quitting:

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.”

“You just need to try harder.”

“Quitting is not an option.”

“You’re taking the easy way out.”

Easy? Have you ever willingly given up your dream? It’s excruciating.

I’ll continue my blog. It’s a tiny thing, yes, but without being able to write my little Thought Bubbles I’d burst. Get it? Burst my bubble? That was fun. So, yes, I will continue that outlet for my creative longings and hope that is enough.

I鈥檓 jumping off the cliff of my dream that I have stood on since I was 9 years old. It’s scary. I might fall. But I might fly.

 

Have you ever given up on your dream? Why? Did something happen to prevent you doing it or did you decide? Was it a specific age (turning 30, 40, 50) or an event in your life? Did you find something you loved after you gave up your dream?

 

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you — Doris Day