Words for 2014:
For the fifth year in a row, Mikhail and I picked words for the year. Having done this now multiple years, I notice the trend. When we pick the words, we have a general sense of being inspired by those words, but we have no idea how they’ll play out. Then the year starts, and they tend to feel foreign to me for the first month or two, like I’m just trying them out.
By March or so, I start to think of them as touchstones to come back to when I’m trying to organize my thoughts about something, like come up with a solution to a problem, or decide what our summer plans should look like. I start to use them to ask myself questions, like “What is my intention about this?” or “How can I get more play into my weekend?” or “What the heck does wild spirit mean?”
There’s always got to be a wild card.
By summer, I’m seeing unexpected (sometimes not even particularly welcome) ways these words have manifested themselves in my life.
By late October, I’m ready to be done with these words.
But then I become grateful for them again by the end of the year. They become an organizing principle for the year, a way to look back and make sense of things, to remember the challenges, triumphs and darn good times that happened in the year. And they provide glimmers of inspiration for the next year.
And I like the ritual of this as an annual tradition. It gives Mikhail and me an opportunity to reflect on the past year and dream about the year to come, and do this together. And it gives us a reason to leave the kids with my parents, sneak off and have a long conversation without anyone interrupting us.