Why I am not giving 2021 a “word”.

A few years ago I began to network in person more often, attending several business meetups and women’s groups. At the end of each year during dinners and holiday celebrations it became the norm to have to choose a word to embody the new year we were about to enter and to announce that word to the group.

This was always seen as an exciting time of the night. For some people the word would come quickly while others struggled to put their hopes and dreams into one succinct thought. Without fail as the attendees stood and stated their word and explained their reason for the choice there would be some laughter in the crowd as some attendees took a humorous approach to dealing with life’s stress and challenges. There would also be the poignant moment when someone would stand and share a particular loss or struggle and the room would applaud and a sea of supporting nods would acknowledge the selection.

I remember one year choosing “momentum”, another year choosing “float”.

“Great word!” a woman said to me as we crossed paths at the buffet line. “Thank you!” I beamed, uncertain as to why the praise meant so much to me.

In the beginning of 2020 I was thinking about my word. What would it be? “Learn” was the top of my list that year since some online courses had piqued my interest. Another contender was “Speak” since I had taken a step back from motivational speaking in 2019 and was missing the impact I was able to have on women who were starting over. I honestly can’t remember if I ever landed on a word for 2020 because before I knew it Covid was here and the daily goal was more about surviving, caring for my kids’ mental health, figuring out how to keep my business running and of course disinfecting things in my home I had never really thought about before.

And before I knew it the first year of the pandemic was behind me and it was time to choose a word for 2021.

I saw one woman in my feed selected brave, another choose thrive, and yet another choose kindness. All lovely choices from our modern lexicon.

With each declaration of a persons word I found myself getting irritated. After the year I just had the thought of simplifying myself into one singular word felt offensive to me. In order to survive somewhat intact during 2020 I had to become to so many things, embrace so many words and thoughts and actions that were new to me. I survived quite frankly not by being one thing but by allowing myself to become all the things that I could be and all the things that I wanted to be. In our lockdown I, like so many of you, found freedom.

I know for many a yearly word is simply a guide and not a roadblock to other opportunities. For me, after 2020, the mere notion of a box or another restriction feels stifling.

As I go into 2021, rather than a word, I am focusing more on a feeling. One that I will nurture throughout the unforeseen challenges this year will undoubtedly bring. I can feel it now as I write these words. The feeling is in my chest, behind my sternum, it’s warm and it glows and its vibrating with excitement and more than anything it wants to connect with people who are seeking change and growth and fun and magic and laughter and new beginnings and graceful endings. 2021 will be a year of energy and attraction and creation and building and tearing down and whimsy and magical connections. It will have no rules and no singular word defining it. It will simply be a force that will drive us forward into incredible new places that we would not have been able to explore had we not had the great slowdown of 2020.

So 2021 won’t get a word from me. What it will get is my intention, my focus, my soul’s energy and the permission to be as great a year as I see to make it, no matter how many words that takes.