word of the year: 2019 Edition


Has anyone else noticed how identifying a “word of the year” has been trending lately? It’s a new year and all, but I don’t recall so much focus on it in previous years. While I keep reading post after post on social media where someone is proclaiming their word for 2019 and what it means to them, I thought I’d invented this concept eight years ago. Apparently, I wasn’t cornering any markets on it even then. It only serves to remind me that there are really no new ideas because ideas are already just floating around in the ether and occasionally a random brain picks up that wavelength and turns it into an epiphany.

I arrived at my first “word of the year” in 2012 very organically and in a way that made me think I was on to something that I came up with all by myself. Intriguing as it was and pleased with my perceived originality, I was eager to see what that word, DRIVEN, would lead to in the next 365 days following one of the roughest years of my life. Being driven led me back to graduate school, and I finally completed my master’s degree within a year, a tight deadline I’d set for myself.

The next year my word was READY, and I even commissioned an Etsy artist to make a necklace for me, another craze that now appears to have taken the world by storm in bracelet form, and a trend I could have profited from six years ago if I’d just been more opportunistic. But to me, my word has always been personal because I happen upon it innocently by listening to my inner Heather about what that word might be. I remember explaining my necklace to my boss during a one-on-one. She stared blankly at me before moving on to her agenda. That’s ok, I thought. A lot of people don’t get me anyway.

The next few years would include words like GO, BELIEVE, ACTION, NEW and last year’s BIG. Like all the Decembers before, I felt that word deep down in my gut around the holiday season of 2017. The word caught me by surprise, kind of like finding a tumor on your back that you hadn’t noticed before. I wondered silently, “Oh, I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll literally be the biggest, fattest version of me this year.” Then I tried to suppress that thought and whispered internally, “Be careful what you wish for, Heather.” But that didn’t work because the thought was already out there, and now I weigh more than I ever have before. #fatandsassy Just part of the journey, I guess. Just part of the ride. But I had big love, took big risks and learned some big lessons last year, too. It’s the love part that really matters. That was my favorite part. (LOVE happened to be the runner up word last year, btw.)

I could write pages about each of the words I’ve decreed over the years and what events could be tied to those words or what people impacted my life who could be a manifestation of those words. But as it is with reading a horoscope, isn’t it part of the human condition to find additional meaning and attachment to words? People use words to manifest something, like abundance, grace, patience or money. That’s ok, too. On my bathroom mirror I have written: “What you focus on grows.” It’s so true. When we focus on what we don’t have, we keep not having it. But when we focus on what we want or at least on positive thoughts, lives change.

I’m ready for 2019 because my word is ACHIEVE. I’ve already started running again, something I used to do regularly before the hip injuries added up and I got burned out on running in pain all the time. Maybe I have a third marathon in me, maybe not. Maybe I’ll drop the BIG pounds from 2018. But if my word ACHIEVE will come through for me in 2019, then who knows how far I’ll go.