The Strength of a Word

January 29, 2021

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

I’ve been trying to cling to some vestiges of normalcy in these far from normal times, so as I’ve done for the past few years, I’ve chosen a word of the year to be a sort of one-word guidance system. I say I chose it, but really, it chose me, because this word is not one I would normally gravitate to.

The word is dare.

Dare strikes me as a bossy word—at first glance, it sounds like a word that is going to make me do a whole lot of things I don’t want to do, as in “I dare you to…” After the exhausting slog of 2020, I’m skeptical of my ability to live up to a word like dare. However, one of my online friends called it, more charitably, a strong word. OK, we’ll go with that. Maybe I can draw strength from it as well as be pushed by it?

I’m willing to take on dare because after some thought and exploration (and consulting a thesaurus and dictionary, thanks to a friend’s suggestion). I’m choosing to focus on the meanings of to take heart, try one’s hand, venture, to have sufficient courage to try. Dare is also associated with imaginative or vivacious boldness. I kind of like the sound of that.

Also, for the first time, I created an acronym to correspond with the word’s letters (hat tip to another friend for this idea). Here it is:

D: Dream (because dreaming starts everything)

A: Act (dreams won’t become reality without action)

R: Recharge (after taking action, I’ll need to recharge)

E: Evaluate (evaluate the result of my action to see what comes next)

Where will dare take me? I don’t know yet, but I have some projects in the works that I might not have decided to tackle without the support of such a strong word.

If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t put off things I want to do—there’s no guarantee the future will be anything resembling the past. It’s up to me to figure out what I really want to do/be/have, and try to make those things happen. No one is going to do it for me.

Have you chosen a word of the year for 2021? I dare you!

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  1. D.A.R.E interesting choice of a word for the year. When I first started reading the post and came across your word I had a bit of a reaction to it - I thought that I wouldn't pick that word. But, as I read your own reaction to it and how you gave it 'space' to let different thoughts and possibilities pop up ... I had a change of heart. Using DARE as an acronym and spelling out the possibilities with the different letters - I started warming up to the word. I wouldn't be surprised if I choose DARE in another year. Best wishes on your journey with DARE in 2021.

    For 2021 I'm off to a slow start but I'm trying on 2 words for awhile - to see how they compliment or balance each other. The words are Flourish and Enough. Getting up in years, I see that flourishing is something I have to initiate myself - with how I choose to spend my time. Unlimited ideas, supplies, and some skills - let's see what I can do with 2021. On the other hand, I want to get better at recognizing when I have "enough" and to be content with enough - food, clothes, and even art supplies and normal downsizing. This is hard for me, but maybe by raising my consciousness in 2021 I can start down a new path...

    1. Hi, Claire--You had the same reaction I did to "dare" at first. Thank you for your best wishes--we will see how it goes :)

      I love your words--they are nicely complementary, and I think they fit this stage in your life. Hope they guide you well this year.