A beloved Chicago Tribune columnist, a Southerner like me, presented a one-word challenge recently: Pick a word that will “guide you through the coming year.” Because it did not originate with her*, I feel perfectly comfortable borrowing the idea and sharing it with you.
Tribune columnist Mary Schmich’s one word in 2020 is slower.
“All we have to do is breathe more slowly, and we know that slowing down is a way to see and hear and think more clearly,” she writes. “Slowing down, we make space to notice what’s going on, and noticing helps us make better choices.”
Curmudgeons, she says, may scoff at the idea of living by one word. Especially if they eschew resolution-making. But I am a died-in-the-wool curmudgeon, and I love it.
It doesn’t require a list of items to avoid: alcohol, ice cream, red meat, screaming, processed foods, or things to take on: jogging, meditation, kindness, Pilates. (Although, I am in my first days of trying Dry January. We’ll see how that goes.)
A thoughtful word and mindfulness
It only requires one thoughtful word—and I suppose mindfulness—paying attention to that word throughout the year.
You (and I) have so many words we can choose. Mary writes that some words her readers say they are adopting this year include gratitude, agreeable, mindful, adapt, laugh, look, listen, move, be.
When I read Mary’s column, I was in the midst of an end-of-year vacation. As I read her column, the word that popped into my head was calm because that’s the way I felt toward the end of my time away from work. I like feeling calm. Calm, to me, means the absence of stress. And I want that. So much.
As Women of the ELCA looks toward a triennial convention and gathering this summer and all the work it requires of staff, calm is the word I hope will guide me through the year. Or at least through the summer.
What is your word for 2020?
Terri Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA. This updated Throwback Thursday blog first ran in January 2016.
*Mary discovered the one-word idea was popularized by an artist Ali Edwards on her blog, One Little Word.