Year-end Panic!

I’ve written before about my habit of doing a “word of the year”.

It’s a practice I have down the last 3 years in lieu of resolutions, and it has served me well.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a yoga class and my word came to me, so clear, so bright and shiny and sure, and I was so excited. It felt true and right and important and like it would get me through the next year with possibly wonderful results.

However, as time has gone by the word is definitely losing it’s allure.  I was trying to figure out exactly why and it is bringing up all the reasons I love my word of the year, and all the things I do not want it to be.

Here’s the word…..FREE.

It’s a really great word, right? And even my first instincts about picking it seemed great…I am so tired of “the bondage of self” which is just a fancy term for the ego, and I just don’t want it anymore. I am sick of my self, my self pity, my self obsession, my unwavering and intense introspection that is really just a way to shut out the world. I hate the way I isolate…FREE would (or could) help all of that. FREE up a place in my life to let others in closer, FREE up a place in my head to think about others more. FREE….freedom from the restrictions I place on myself and the expectations that I have and others have. FREE from judgement and others opinions, FREE to be me.

However, the more I have lived with this word, planned around it and thought about it, the less enamored I have become with it. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to be free of those things, but the word doesn’t address the problem, it just recognizes it.

I think there are better ways to address some of the things I want to do in a bigger way, more expansive and with more of a chance of allowing in other things too….letting the word work me as I attempt to work it. FREE is a great word, but I think it’s too small and it’s based in a way I want to be, vs a way I want to BE (you don’t have to understand that, I do!)

I am struggling with a lot of things lately. None of it is new but a different approach is needed. I find I’m not sleeping well (it’s 1;30 am right now),  my food is uncomfortable, I spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer and inside my apartment, alone.  This time of year is always a problem for me…but what if I lived in a way that next year  wasn’t so bad? What would that look like? I have been saying no lately, or doing things despite myself. I am lonely as lonely can be, just so lost in that feeling.

I don’t need to be FREE…I am freer than I like to be. I need to be more engaged with life, less complacent, more active.  I need to approach life differently this year. My instinct for picking big words like YES and OPEN have served me well.

I feel a big word coming on. I hear it in my head, calling to me. A word that will push me to regard myself in a different manner than  I usually do, and to  force me to participate directly in life from a perspective that is not always my first thought.

I’m sitting with it, the thought, the word.

My plan is to have it by the first of the year, but I’m willing to wait for the right word. I now know the power of the word of the year, and I want to get it right.

Anyone else doing this? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or your words, if you have them.




Add yours →

  1. I liked your choice of ‘open’ last year and how you wrote about it last week. It felt like you’d come full circle…that was really neat. I think I’m going to try a word this year and the one I came up with a couple weeks ago was ‘nourish’ and now it feels all wrong (and more than a little silly). I’m a big believer in gut instincts and following them, and maybe it’s normal to feel conflicted. There are so many meaty words to choose from, but I really like the sound of free.

    • I got up this morning and picked up a book I am reading Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. On the second page I read there was a quote about freedom and it brought me back to the word. I am conflicted. I made a conscious decision to write last night about this conflict, the way my mind works, my hesitation and my need for the “perfect” word…which will never happen. I am trying to write more, not necessarily better, but more honestly, more freely.
      Gut instinct is good. I could go round and round for weeks and never choose a word…that’s the process I have gone through each year…I guess I am sharing it here more openly. After writing that last night I immediately questioned it…

      Nourish is a wonderful word…so many levels to it. Whatever word you choose I am excited. I didn’t invent this practice..i so wish i could remember what blog I was reading when I discovered it, if for no other reason that to thank that person for helping me find a wonderful practice that led me to sobriety among ,any other fabulous gifts.

      I hope it works for you as it does for me.

  2. Perspective is an excellent word too…

  3. I have three words for you.

  4. I was just thinking about the new year word the other day. Now I’m a-wonderin’ what I’m going to choose- or what’s going to choose me…..

  5. I heard that yoga teacher was amazing. What?!?

    I love FREE. And you know it.

  6. This is a good word – I will think about my word for this past year, and get back to you!

  7. Two thoughts from me:
    1) Sometimes feeling/seeing what I don’t want to feel/see is as important as feeling what I do want to feel. The former makes the latter clearer to view.
    2) You’ve given me a good assignment. I’m going to work on my word.
    My love and blessings for the new year,

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