What's the Word?

January 06, 2010

I’ve recently been reading a lot about the “word of the year” concept, and decided I’d like to try it. As I understand it, you pick a word that will function as a sort of guide for the year—an inspiration in all areas of your life. I read about Laure’s word, cultivate, and Merideth’s, focus. I visited Christine Kane’s blog and read some of the posts about words people chose for 2009 and how they were affected by them. Then I assembled a little group of words to choose from:


Which one did I choose? None of them. The word I chose dropped into my mind this morning as I was sectioning my grapefruit: Open. As the knife sliced into the tender fruit, I thought about something my husband would like me to help him with, and I realized that I had been resisting doing what he asked mainly because I didn’t want to take the time away from freelancing. And I’m freelancing why? Not because I’m passionately in love with it, but to earn some money to contribute to the family budget as well as support my expensive horse hobby (if you put the word “equine” in front of any object, add $50 to the price). I had a certain image of myself and what I do. I was closed to the possibility of trying something that didn’t fit my image of myself as a freelance writer and editor, even though to earn even a paltry amount of money I must spend many hours working on aspects of freelancing I don’t enjoy.

I let my mind wander to other areas of my life, like my health (would changing my exercise routine or tweaking my diet result in the weight loss I want?) and my leisure time (what if I quit watching TV at night and read instead?). I realized that I have certain set ways of doing things that I rarely deviate from, regardless of whether or not those ways are working for me.

I hope taking “open” as my word of the year will help me do less all-or-nothing thinking. I hope “open” will, well, open some doors that have been firmly closed, as I explore the nuances of the word. In 2010, I want to be open to suggestion, open to change—not just big, life-changing change, but little changes of routines, ways of thinking, etc. I don't want to focus just on change (or that would be my word of the year), but to being more open to how truly wonderful my life is. To be open to the world and what it offers, to new ideas and to what’s around me every day. To embrace life! My life has sometimes been like those firmly closed doors—nothing allowed in that wasn’t my idea of how things should be. Time to open those doors.

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  1. Bravo! Most excellent word and I look forward to seeing what doors are opened to you go as well as what doors you choose to open, with this word as your guide!

  2. I'm so glad that you posted this entry about your word "Open". It wounds like an exciting and alive choice for the year. I'll be interested to see how the year unfolds for you. I have to admit that I need a bit more openness in my life as well. But, I sort of locked in on my word for 2010 yesterday and I'm sort of excited about it: "Clarity". You also might get a kick out of what my 81 year old mother chose (with excitement). She wanted something that was like 'not procrastination' ... after I described the Nike slogan she decided to adopt it ... "Just do it". It still makes me chuckle and I'm going to get her some socks with the Nike swoosh. Best wishes with your word "Open".

  3. Thank you, Laure and Claire. I am interested to see what will happen this year, too, and a little scared. It's so cool that Claire's mother is excitedly greeting the new year with "just do it"!

  4. This is a beautiful post! I love your word choice, and how many different meanings are already revealing their possibilities to you. One of my favorites was "open to suggestion."

    I can't wait to see what unfolds. We could all be a little more open to the beauty in the world, the opportunities for delight and gratitude that unfold right in front of us. :)

    (And thanks so much for the link. You're too kind!)

  5. I'm already finding that trying to be open makes me think twice about saying no to fun things, when I "should" be doing something "productive." I don't always say yes, but at least I leave myself "open" to it!