December 6 , 2019 /


My word for 2019 was BETTER and yes, it was.  I made a commitment to honor the words of Maya Angelou about being and doing better.

She said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”    About halfway through the year, I wrote a blog on that topic:   2019 was a better year for me in several dimensions  – physical health and wellness, a new location of residence, more travel and productivity in some good work.

As we come to the end of this calendar year, I am SEARCHING for a word for 2020. There was a temptation to relate to visual acuity and find the right word connected to what we see, what we choose to look at carefully and what we ignore. Insight?  Foresight, which seems lacking in many quarters?  Not hindsight although looking back, one can see the importance of reflecting on the past in order to move forward with more intelligence based on what we’ve learned.  CLARITY or  VISION?

With more than a million total words in the English language, about 170,000 words in current use, and 20,000-30,000 words used by each person, the choices can seem overwhelming. As I start SEARCHING for what I need and want for 2020, the field begins to narrow significantly.  If the word is related to a specific personal or professional goal, the CHOICES begin to emerge, however slowly.

I thought about choosing WORD as my word for 2020. Words have meaning and when put together in context, in a sentence intended to communicate, words may be all that we have, thus the importance of choosing the right word.   For example, may I have a WORD with you?  That led me to the word TOGETHER.  See how a stream of consciousness keeps flowing on and on and on.  JOURNEY?

Other words under consideration are CHANGE, CHOICE, COMMIT, NOW, and LIVE.  I like multiple meanings so having LIVE as an adjective, adverb or verb expand the possibilities for application.  As I review the possibilities listed here, and more for consideration later, there may be a trend, so for NOW, I will pay attention to what direction the trend is FLOWING.  For no conscious reason, PURSUE came to mind as did EXPLORE.

As a companion to BETTER, I considered DEEPER.  That’s likely where we find MEANING and PURPOSE.  The list of possibilities seems to grow. With only three and a half weeks left in this calendar year, the pressure is on.  If my final CHOICE isn’t clear by January 1, so what?   I don’t believe in deadlines, only due dates that aren’t fixed in time.  TIME might work as we try to understand, measure, make, stretch, limit and manipulate it.  I have had more years of TIME than most and NOW have the freedom to use the gift of TIME according to my own personal INTENTIONS.  What a great TIME to be alive and be able to use TIME well and wisely.

Just for fun, I thought of UP and NEW in response to questions such as “What’s UP?” and “What’s NEW?”  Imagine a daily response to those questions for each day, week, month or maybe the whole year.

Suggestions are welcome and I will see what seems to be a good fit for 2020.  For those who know me, tell me why you are suggesting a particular word.

Who says I can choose only one word?  I can make my own rules so maybe I will have two or three words. OK?


Comments (4)

  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful year with “better”, Gary. Yes indeed – it must be quite an adventure to come up with a single word to ‘define’ an entire year… my suggestion? THRIVE. In some way, it speaks of the ‘thrill to live’. All the best – Kumud

  2. Love your word THRIVE, so far beyond SURVIVE. And that definition, “thrill to live” has LIVE in in it which I am considering. Yesterday’s ZOOM mtg made me enter GRACE as a contender. Thanks for your comment and your continuing walks in the woods, That planted seed about a trip to India sometime is taking root.

  3. I think it would have been awesome if you picked WORD for your word. I . think you have a bunch that connect with you to choose this year. I’d say, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about starting somewhere and giving yourself the flexibility to change when the time is right. The right one to set the tone will click with a little more time. No matter what, you’ll get it right.


  4. Thanks for your vote of confidence. As you know, it’s not so much the word as it is what emanates from the word(s). Thanks, too, for the notion of changing, when the TIME is right. Truthfully, I believe the time is always right! WORD may carry the day for reasons that are known and yet to be discovered. I have a “history” with LOGOS, the Greek word for Word. That’s part of another story.

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