Wednesday, January 1, 2020

One Little Word for 2020

This will be the seventh year that I have taken on One Little Word and lived with its guidance
throughout the entire twelve months. I know that I’m not so good at resolutions. They frustrate me,
and I lose sight of them quickly. However, just one word… I can do that. Especially when the word
is one that flexes with me. Most of my words have been short, but they have multiple meanings.
I like words that can act as multiple parts of speech. The longest word, acknowledge, was my least
favorite word, and maybe that was because of its singular meaning. The other words have braided
together, and they all hold leadership seats in how I live my life. 

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. My word JOY of 2019 helped me remember this.

I love going to Quote Investigator when I want to give credit to whoever said a phrase I love. Maya Angelou receives credit from a number of sources for talking about the quality and not the quantity of breaths, but there are several other people who have coined similar phrases over the years, and I like some of those phrases even better:
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;In feelings, not in figures on a dial.We should count time by heart-throbs. He most livesWho thinks most—feels the noblest—acts the best.- Philip James Bailey in 1839

Remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away! Dancing can do that for you!
-Tahitian Choreographies by Vicki Corona in 1989

Throughout 2019, Joy has been a great word for me. JOY was an exception to my multiple parts of speech rule, but Beth Moore pointed out that there was something fun about thinking about JOY as a verb and over the course of 2019, I loved thinking about JOY as an action. Even when I have not felt particularly joyful (and there have been those times), I have leaned on this word to remember that people respond better when we lead from a place of happiness. Over and over, I have found this to be true. And, I have also found that when we look for joy, we frequently find it. Isn’t it so often the case that when we are looking for something, we find it? For 2020, I want to continue this kind of living, and I’m combining the idea behind the breathlessness and the word joy, so I am going with the word WOW. 

True disclaimer: I’ve been thinking about WOW as a word for a few weeks, and

I’ve even practiced using it. People respond really well when I respond to them with WOW.

It’s such a simple word, but there’s a lot of sentiment that lies within it, and we can convey a lot

of meaning, especially when we consider our intonations and delivery. There are a LOT of ways

to say WOW, and true to my pattern, it can act as different parts of speech-- We can respond with

WOW, but we can also WOW people.

Along the lines of word flexibility, WOW also interests me as a word because when I turn it upside down, guess what? It says MOM. And 2020 is the year when motherhood is sort of turned upside down for me since this is the year when the youngest of our four daughters will leave for college. Yes, we will be empty-nesters, and, at least for the time being, none of the older daughters are returning home. 2020 is also a year where there is a pattern in the numbers, and WOW echoes that. Maybe that's one more sign that's out there telling me to choose this word for the year.

And so there it is, my One Little Word for 2020: WOW. I'm looking forward to it, and I can't wait to hear what other people are choosing.


  1. pretty cute. I enjoyed seeing all the various flexibilities you found in your word, WOW! I hope you are WoWed when looking back on moments in your life and be Wowed with what is happening in your presences as well. (Have you ever used the WOW signal? Just hold up 3 fingers on both hands and put them on either side of your open "O" shaped mouth and you've got your word WOW spelled out in a simple signal!)

  2. I’m fascinated by your choice of WOW as a OLW. I typically think of it as an interjection, or maybe a modifier, but it can be a verb, too. Most interesting to me is it’s tonal implications. That it can change tone so easily makes it very flexible.

  3. I'm a little jealous of your choice for this year! Is it too late to change mine? lol Happy New Year!

  4. I like it-it makes me think of shock, surprise, inspiration, wonder, amazing...glad you settled on it. Wow, Happy New Year!

  5. "People respond really well when I respond to them with WOW."

    What a great word! I hadn't thought to consider how others respond to it. It made me think about how I respond when hearing it. This one little word could make such an impact. I hope our year is filled with many WOW moments. Happy New Year!


  6. All of the connections you made to this word across your post most definitely make it the year of WOW for you! I love it! I imagine what it is going to be like to be an "empty-nester." I can't help but think you have given a whole lot to your girls to keep them full for years to come, and to keep you full in heart as well.

  7. A year ahead of seeking the wow in the world around you sounds inspiring!

  8. I hope you have manny moments that wow you and take your breath away in the year ahead!