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Word-of-the-Year People. Thoughts on 2020's Word? Ideas for 2021?


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So, I know that for many of us, it was difficult to meet our Word in 2020, unless maybe your word was "Crisis", or you were able to go for irony and your word was something like "Travel". My word for 2020 was "Brave," and, while in some ways that did mostly seem like an ironic choice - who knew I would be brave just giving my son a hug or buying groceries in person - there have been ways Brave has been meaningful, even with the insanity that is 2020. I was brave going to Europe when it was easy to find excuses not to go, and that was before I knew how wild COVID was about to get. I was brave when I had conversations with people that I knew would be a conflict. I have been brave about pursuing employment, though it hasn't paid off yet. 

I usually start mulling over words for the next year in November, waiting for one word to sing to me. I think my 2021 word is going to be "Open," because there are many nuances about the word Open that could work. 

Anything you would like to say about your 2020 Word or a word idea for 2021?

BTW, anyone can join in on this at any time, so if you've never done this, but want to, join right in. 

Here are my Words from past years:

Grow

Experience

Connection

Wisdom

Strength

Brave

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My WotY 2020 was "Free". It still feels like a slap in the face. 

Past years were Friends,  Create, Hope, Joy. 

I am very reluctant to choose one for 2021, since nothing I had planned for this year was allowed to happen. Not making plans, even for a WotY, will be less painful than another string of disappointments. Maybe "Accept " is the only appropriate word,  but every fiber in me rebels since I  always feel undertones of giving up with it.

Edited by regentrude
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8 minutes ago, regentrude said:

My WotY 2020 was "Free". It still feels like a slap in the face. 

Past years were Friends,  Create, Hope, Joy. 

I am very reluctant to choose one for 2021, since nothing I had planned for this year was allowed to happen. Not making plans, even for a WotY, will be less painful than another string of disappointments. Maybe "Accept " is the only appropriate word,  but every fiber in me rebels since I  always feel undertones of giving up with it.

I remembered that your word was Free. What a doozy. 

I KWYM about rebelling against "Accept". I have felt that way before, when people have told me, "You need to accept..." Some beast inside me would rear up and say, "NO! I *DON'T Accept!" 

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I've never done a word of the year, but when I saw your thread title, "Better" immediately jumped into my mind, without thought. But then as I started thinking of how you could branch off it it, well, there's a lot. 

Edited by Jaybee
"say" was supposed to be "saw"
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10 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

I've never done a word of the year, but when I say your thread title, "Better" immediately jumped into my mind, without thought. But then as I started thinking of how you could branch off it it, well, there's a lot. 

I do say, the word "picks me". Usually I know when the right word has come to me. If I argue about the word in my head, that is sometimes even a bigger hint. I remember when the word "Experience" came to me and I "argued" with myself about the word - "But what if that means a bad experience?" I kept the word, though. I knew it was the right one. 

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My 2020 word was "appreciate" and I do believe it has served me well in a year full of so much "yuck".   I hadn't thought about a word for 2021 until I saw this thread.  Thank you for the reminder Quill.   I do not remember past words and I don't keep a list of them (i really should).   Like you, @Quill,  the word chooses me and I can't force it.  Hopefully I will be paying close enough attention to know what my 2021 word will be.

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I don't do word of the year, I am not that evolved 😊

But if I had to use choose a word for 2020 belatedly, it would be faith.

Faith that we will come out of this hale and whole as much as we can, it will end, in God, that I will see my parents and brother again in person.

So I will choose Hope in 2021, I hope that things will get better. When the bar is this low, it can only get better right ?

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I think I'll do this for 2021. It will be my first time, but I need centering after this rough year (for which I might retroactively pick the word punk'd). 😒

My word will be flow. I need it in so many ways—for my own learning and planning, for our school schedule, for my own need to stop feeling stuck, but mostly for my own breathing. I feel like I've been holding my breath for the past year (or 4), and I just want my breathing to flow easily again. I want to get back "into the flow" in so many ways. 

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Me too. It comes to me usually around early December. But I also learned the word, like a spell, can take unexpected twists.

So true. In January, home meant sorting, purging, reorganizing and focusing my energy on remaking home for my people. In February, it took on spiritual meaning and lead me on an entirely different journey that is still going on. We all know what happened in March, but in some way the word itself has helped throughout this whole thing. Not sure what next year’s word will be. I’m a little terrified of what might happen!

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11 minutes ago, Alte Veste Academy said:

I think I'll do this for 2021. It will be my first time, but I need centering after this rough year (for which I might retroactively pick the word punk'd). 😒

My word will be flow. I need it in so many ways—for my own learning and planning, for our school schedule, for my own need to stop feeling stuck, but mostly for my own breathing. I feel like I've been holding my breath for the past year (or 4), and I just want my breathing to flow easily again. I want to get back "into the flow" in so many ways. 

I like that one!

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I have had a word for the year a few times, but usually forget it by around March or April. I think I don't get the point of it. (That is not a criticism of those who have a word for the year, nor I am arguing against it as a concept/practice. It just means I don't get it.) 

When I saw 'accept' upthread, though, my first associations were positive. Like, accept that there are things out of my control, things I can't change, etc.  There is value in acceptance at times. 

ETA: just in case anyone wonders why the heck I'm posting in a thread for word-of-the-year people... I am interested in the concept and what people get out of it.

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13 minutes ago, marbel said:

ETA: just in case anyone wonders why the heck I'm posting in a thread for word-of-the-year people... I am interested in the concept and what people get out of it.

For me, the WotY is something I want to focus on during the year. I like the concept better than a New Year's Resolution, because you can fail at a resolution ("I will write every day", "I will do something fun every week") but you cannot fail at a word ("Create", "Joy"). For me, the word is a touchstone, a reminder that I want to be mindful about a certain area in my life. And that's how the word usually surfaces, from an inner knowledge that something is imbalanced or requires more attention.
Last year's was "friends", because I wanted to make a conscious effort to spend more time with friends and be deliberate about this. This year's word "free" arose because I was feeling stuck with my life, wanted to shed old roles and expectations and self-imposed constraints, and figuratively spread my wings (yeah, you can laugh).
The WotY is more flexible and forgiving than a list of measurable goals. You set intention, but you can't fail.
 

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22 minutes ago, marbel said:

When I saw 'accept' upthread, though, my first associations were positive. Like, accept that there are things out of my control, things I can't change, etc.  There is value in acceptance at times. 

Oh absolutely, it would be great to be able to accept the things I cannot change! It would make everything so much more peaceful.

But to me, emotionally, acceptance also evokes remaining stagnant, not taking the risk and not being open to possibility - and these past years, I am struggling with letting go of old patterns I cling to because they are safe. Accepting the status quo means not searching for change, not doing the scary thing, not becoming free. That's why some inner child inside me is stomping her foot when she hears the word and yells "No, won't!".

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I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the concept.  I will admit that my first thought upon reading, reflecting on the past year, rhymed with Ditto’s word “yuck”.  Only my word started with an F.  That’s the grade I would give 2020, too.  
 

My WOTY for 2021 is Appreciate. 

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38 minutes ago, marbel said:

I have had a word for the year a few times, but usually forget it by around March or April. I think I don't get the point of it. (That is not a criticism of those who have a word for the year, nor I am arguing against it as a concept/practice. It just means I don't get it.) 

When I saw 'accept' upthread, though, my first associations were positive. Like, accept that there are things out of my control, things I can't change, etc.  There is value in acceptance at times. 

ETA: just in case anyone wonders why the heck I'm posting in a thread for word-of-the-year people... I am interested in the concept and what people get out of it.

That's okay! I didn't take your post as a criticism. Plus I "know" you on here. I really like regentrude's post. 

19 minutes ago, regentrude said:

For me, the WotY is something I want to focus on during the year. I like the concept better than a New Year's Resolution, because you can fail at a resolution ("I will write every day", "I will do something fun every week") but you cannot fail at a word ("Create", "Joy"). For me, the word is a touchstone, a reminder that I want to be mindful about a certain area in my life. And that's how the word usually surfaces, from an inner knowledge that something is imbalanced or requires more attention.
Last year's was "friends", because I wanted to make a conscious effort to spend more time with friends and be deliberate about this. This year's word "free" arose because I was feeling stuck with my life, wanted to shed old roles and expectations and self-imposed constraints, and figuratively spread my wings (yeah, you can laugh).
The WotY is more flexible and forgiving than a list of measurable goals. You set intention, but you can't fail.
 

Exactly. At some points in the year, my chosen Word may take precedence in my thoughts and I pay a lot of attention to it; other times, it's receded more into the background. Knowing what my word is, though, does give me a touchstone (thanks for that word!) to bring me back to what I intended (or maybe, The Universe intended for me). 

For a practical reminder, I usually have my word written on a sticky and I also put it in my planner so it stays more in the foreground of my thoughts. The first couple of times, I didn't do this and it did lead me to forgetting about the word. 

I have a friend who has her kids all choose a WotY and they create a piece of art with the word and other collage elements that represent that word to them. They do this in December for the coming year. I think that's a neat idea! 

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I usually like to pick a word but could not figure one out for 2020, rather appropriate with this year full of surprises and changes.

Retroactively,I'd pick the word humility, which is a positive spin on the word I've felt more often than not, which is failure. 

I need to reflect on what I've learned and what to focus on moving forward.

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Mine might actually be linen.  

It’s strong.

It’s absorbent (resilient). 

It’s elegant OR business-like OR very natural (like me)

It can be used to make hazy, gauzy fabrics that either both basic and artistic.  The idea of haze keeps coming back to me, in the Waldorf sense of the word—the gauzy translucent fabrics and papers (like shoji screen paper) that allow light through but are not see-through seems to fit the time ahead—there is beauty there, but not full clarity.

Linen also tends to be kind of directional in the way that its woven—usually with one dominant direction to it.  That’s not actually a requirement of the fiber, but it’s how it tends to be used.  I like the idea of there being some directionality to 2021.

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3 hours ago, regentrude said:

Oh absolutely, it would be great to be able to accept the things I cannot change! It would make everything so much more peaceful.

But to me, emotionally, acceptance also evokes remaining stagnant, not taking the risk and not being open to possibility - and these past years, I am struggling with letting go of old patterns I cling to because they are safe. Accepting the status quo means not searching for change, not doing the scary thing, not becoming free. That's why some inner child inside me is stomping her foot when she hears the word and yells "No, won't!".

Our shakespeare for the day was

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?“

I’m the same.  My tendency is to play it safe but I try to force myself to be open to opportunities.

i think my word for next year might be something like responsive, adaptive or flexible.  Something to underline the need to adjust to circumstances.

 

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4 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

In my search for the word of the year I came across this post Quill...

Wow... we certainly didn’t know what was coming!

Right? Now I think “2020” is going to become slang for “all the crap hits the fan.” 

I can’t find the WotY thread from last year. My content record only goes back to one year ago and it must have been earlier than that. 

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8 hours ago, regentrude said:

My WotY 2020 was "Free". It still feels like a slap in the face. 

Past years were Friends,  Create, Hope, Joy. 

I am very reluctant to choose one for 2021, since nothing I had planned for this year was allowed to happen. Not making plans, even for a WotY, will be less painful than another string of disappointments. Maybe "Accept " is the only appropriate word,  but every fiber in me rebels since I  always feel undertones of giving up with it.

 

7 hours ago, Alte Veste Academy said:

I think I'll do this for 2021. It will be my first time, but I need centering after this rough year (for which I might retroactively pick the word punk'd). 😒

My word will be flow. I need it in so many ways—for my own learning and planning, for our school schedule, for my own need to stop feeling stuck, but mostly for my own breathing. I feel like I've been holding my breath for the past year (or 4), and I just want my breathing to flow easily again. I want to get back "into the flow" in so many ways. 

 

2 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Our shakespeare for the day was

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?“

I’m the same.  My tendency is to play it safe but I try to force myself to be open to opportunities.

i think my word for next year might be something like responsive, adaptive or flexible.  Something to underline the need to adjust to circumstances.

 

I hear what you are saying about "Accept". I like "Flow" or "Adapt" better.

Maybe "Maneuver"? It infers some agency even as you are caught in the uncontrollable current.

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I'm not a word of the year kind of person (vision boards are also not my thing) but I have to say it's really interesting to see what some of you chose as your word and how those words fit into all that is 2020. Some of your words are so very different yet ended up being very appropriate in many ways.

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I didn't read the other replies so I don't get a better idea until after I've written this up, lol.

HA! My 2020 word was, "soar," and had life gone as planned, should have been the perfect choice for everyone in our family for many reasons. However... 🥴 we're just limping along with injured wings, hoping for better days coming soon.... someday? I hope? I should revise the word officially... something like... "sheesh," or "c'monnnnn," or "for real?," or "mask."

2021's word - as of now - will probably be "hope." I've never looked forward to the end of a year so much - but also to the new year with such anxious anticipation. I literally no longer know what to expect from day-to-day, looking ahead to 2021 is a little overwhelming. This time a year ago we were all so blissfully unaware!!!

3 hours ago, Quill said:

Right? Now I think “2020” is going to become slang for “all the crap hits the fan.”

My dh already uses it this way, lol! "That went like 2020," or "What a 2020 situation." He says he's using this forever as a euphemism for when things are crap and assures me that I'll appreciate its meaning more once we're not in the midst of all the 2020'ing going on right now. 🥴

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DD21 has painted WOTY canvasses for several years... maybe five? I had never picked one until last year and, without really thinking about it (as some of you are saying) "rest" popped into my mind—as in rest/trust in the Lord. The next week I went to work, and there was a basket of glittery stars with WOTYs printed on the back (only year this has been done). I picked one for fun, and it was "restoration"—which immediately resonated.

Those words have served me well this year, and I have seen steps toward much needed restoration in my family. It has been rather a beauty-from-ashes year for me, even as I mourn the ashes.

I would love my 2021 word to be "phoenix." I wonder if that is too optimistic...

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Two years ago my word was PEACE, and it turned out to be the sort of year where I really needed it. So I picked something a little less fraught last year: SELF CARE. Two words, so sue me.

 It really did help me focus on some goals so far as health care and exercise went, though I had kind of forgotten the last couple of months. Still doing okay with doing the exercise, but forgot the focus word.

 Not sure what I’ll choose for 2021. I need something that has to do with using my time well. My DD is back in public school and I’m sort of floundering, with lots of time on my hands that I’m not doing anything productive with. 
 

I’m also trying the no complaining challenge - so I could choose something to go with that instead, because i suspect I  will still be struggling with this in January.

i will be giving this some thought.

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18 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Mine was ROAR.

Well.  

Still need to think of one for next year.  It might be something like Haze.  

Last night I realized the only word that is coming to me at this point is Numb.   That kind of fits with your Haze.

 

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19 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Mine might actually be linen.  

It’s strong.

It’s absorbent (resilient). 

It’s elegant OR business-like OR very natural (like me)

It can be used to make hazy, gauzy fabrics that either both basic and artistic.  The idea of haze keeps coming back to me, in the Waldorf sense of the word—the gauzy translucent fabrics and papers (like shoji screen paper) that allow light through but are not see-through seems to fit the time ahead—there is beauty there, but not full clarity.

Linen also tends to be kind of directional in the way that its woven—usually with one dominant direction to it.  That’s not actually a requirement of the fiber, but it’s how it tends to be used.  I like the idea of there being some directionality to 2021.

I was wondering if anyone had mentioned "resilience".

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I didn't do one last year.  I was in a very bad place without a lot of hope for the future.  But God got me through the year with FAITH and even HOPE for what He has for my future.

 

I was just thinking about this thread while I was doing my Xena exercises.  So my word (phrase?) for this year is to be XENA STRONG.  But FAITH still fits.  And PRAYER.  But I think that strength is more than just physical and faith and prayer have a lot to do with it. 

 

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33 minutes ago, KathyBC said:

I was wondering if anyone had mentioned "resilience".

As a weaver, linen is more stubborn than anything, too.  It’s hard to warp because it winds around itself so much, but once it’s on, it’s really ON, and forms the best warp possible for many applications.  It’s extremely strong and perseveres without stretching.  That might be a good thing for 2021.

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I have been thinking and I’m thinking my word for 2021 will be “persevere”. It seems like a very multipurpose word for my life: there are the unforeseen things that may come up as COVID continues, plus several endeavors that I want to remind myself to be consistent with (no complaining, writing, exercise)

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My 2021 planner arrived this week, and I always put my WOTY in it as one of the first "breaking in the planner" things that I do. 

I've been mulling my 2021 words....the contenders are Nourish, Light (meaning both visible light, but also setting stuff on fire---that cleansing burn of destroying rotten wood, and an unburdening of my soul), and Haven

 

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