Oh My Word blog

Oh, My Word

For a writer, I have a habit of poorly choosing my words. Actually, it would be more accurate to
say that my words choose me.

Let me back up.

A lot of people start the new year with a word – one that embodies hopes and dreams for the
365 (or 366) shiny days ahead. Maybe you are one of these people, thinking up your perfectly
inspired word. I am not one of these people. Instead, the word comes to me. For the last
several years, completely unprompted, I have been given my word. I know it sounds a little woo
woo, but that’s how it goes. I recognize my word when it shows up and I know it’s here for me.
And every single year, said word plays out in a way that is the polar opposite of its given
definition. One year, my word was “joy”. Hooray, right? Nope. What followed was, honestly,
one of the least joyful years of my life. In 2020 the word that chose me was “grace”. Please feel
free to imagine how that turned out.

I promise my life is not a living horror year after year. Really, it’s quite normal and lovely most
of the time. But the reality of my word is always so hilariously off base that when it reveals
itself to me I greet it with my very best side eye. “Fun”? Crap, what’s in store for 2018? “Gratitude”?
Gulp. In 2022 I had no word at all and was a bit off balance without a North Star to misguide me
for twelve whole months.

Thankfully, my word for 2023 showed up shortly after Christmas. “Soar”. I immediately fell in
love with the aspirational, airy quality of those four letters. I love thinking about its possibility,
and I love saying it. Granted, it requires some explaining, given its unfortunate homonym. A
conversation with my son went something like this:

“Hey, I got My Word for 2023. Soar!”
“Ew. Sore?? That’s awful.”
“No, soar, like a bird or an airplane. Not sore like a gaping wound.”
“Oh. Uh, OK.”

Undeterred by the teen’s lack of enthusiasm and the historically poor performance of previous
years’ words, I embraced soar with my whole being. And for the entire month of January, I did
exactly that. I soared. Professionally. Personally. And then, in marched February.

To lay out the details would benefit no one, and February’s gut shot has impacted me far less
than many others in my circle. But right now, soar really does feel more like sore. My word has
predictably gone off script (33 days in is a new record, by the way) and has me asking yet again,

”What lesson does my word hold?” In time, when my mind is quiet and open, the answer will
show up, just like the word itself did.

Joy” is usually found when you aren’t looking for it.
    “Gratitude” is a daily practice, not a once in a while thing.
        “Grace” is a selfless gift that softens tough times.
            “Soar” is (…I’ll get back to you.)

Oh, my word. It makes me scrabble and scrape, wonder and rail, shake my fists and my head.
But it’s also a chance to learn. And to grow. And with 320-something shiny days ahead, there’s
still plenty of time to soar.

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