Only one of these two words

I’m doing a year-end series on how to overcome feeling like a failure; click here for last week’s installment, in which I share my Reverse Bucket List – and how it made me remember all the good in my life.

Each year, for the last three years, I’ve chosen a Word of the Year:
2017 = SERVICE

I’ve chosen them based on how I wanted to live my life… But they’ve ended up largely being about what I do, as opposed to who I am.
(Yes, even THOUGHTFUL – it’s been all about ways I can be thoughtful, as opposed to how I could be thinking.)

When I read Audrey Monke’s fabulous blog post, “5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities” (this week’s exercise, and also last week’s, are based on Audrey’s year-end activities), I was excited to read that Audrey chooses a word of the year too!

Audrey’s words are different from mine – not a surprise, as Audrey and I are different people.

But they are fundamentally different in an important way: Audrey’s words are not about what she does.
They are about who she is.

In her version of the exercise, as Audrey puts it, “your one word isn’t a constant reminder of what you “should be doing”. Instead, it stands to inspire how you want to live. Think about who you want to be, and choose a word that will help you become that.”

Her rules:
“Focus on being rather than doing.
Be authentic.
Don’t overthink it.”

As I went through this exercise, one word bubbled up to the surface immediately.

2020 = ENOUGH

Could this be the one?

I realized that it satisfies the 3 rules above: the focus is on being; it’s authentically me; and it’s literally the first word that came up so not overthought : )

and I realized something else – it can be used in three key ways:

1. I AM enough.
I don’t have to worry about being somebody I am not.
My voice is a good voice!
My ideas are valid.
As long as I stay true to who I am – a woman who works for kindness, teamwork, and trust – I truly am enough.

2. I HAVE enough.
I mean this in several senses. Looking around me I feel an abundance of love, friendship, and good feelings – received as well as given.
Looking around me I also feel incredibly grateful for the material possessions I live with, the roof overhead and the food on our table.
The schools our sons go to.
I have a healthy respect for both the producers of these material things – and the work that Ben and I do to earn the income with which to purchase those goods.
I have enough <3

3. I HAVE HAD enough.
I believe (as I mentioned above) in kindness, teamwork, and trust.
When I read, hear about, or see something that’s the opposite of this – whether interpersonally, in government, or in commerce – I get really steamed up!
I truly have had enough of witnessing the ways that humans mistreat other humans.

Part of the reason I started in the first place was to help you not feel battered by your life circumstances, your inner thoughts, or your children’s behavior.

I’m fed up of bad feelings, and the hurtful actions they engender.

I want to spend 2020 working to promote good things in the world.

And, I love ENOUGH for those reasons. But soon after, another word bubbled up:


Fred Rogers wrote a whole song based on a question a child asked him:
“What do you do with the mad that you feel?”

And it’s interesting, I’ve been teaching children and parents, over 2 1/2 decades (if you count my own children), to handle big feelings.
Like anger.
And it’s only this month – December 2019 – that anger has popped up for me as an emotion that I have felt, and squashed.
I’ve never given myself permission to feel anger!
(I know. I can’t believe it either!)

So, talking about this with my therapist, my question for him was:
“Okay. So rage is what I’m feeling. What do I DO with it?”

And he helped me realize that I’m a person who needs exhilaration in my life.
Vigorous exercise, in all weather.
Controlled risk-taking (like skiing).
Performing in front of a live audience, whether singing or telling stories.
Visiting a new city or country.

When I don’t have some kind of exhilaration – especially if the reason that I don’t have that is out of my control, such as when my tendon disorder stops me from being able to get that vigorous exercise – I don’t have my usual outlet for feelings of anger.

Which is why I’m considering EXHILARATED as my 2020 word.

It would be a fun reminder of an important way of being – because the word of the year is about being, not doing.

So, which should it be?
I’d love your thoughts!

I’ll share my choice with you right here in this space next week!

Also: what’s your 2020 One Word?
I’d love to hear about it.
Wishing you an outstanding 2020!
Thanks for reading!


Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/In the Facebook group/in NPC…

Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!

What’s up on the podcast this week:
Big ideas from our little kids:

What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:
Magic Words for Parents is off this week because of the holiday… Wishing you wonderful end to the year and a happy new year!
Click here to join our Facebook group, so you are ready for all the Magic Words to come in 2020!

What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community:
What to hang onto when you are having a really, REALLY rough week (as this ninja parent has recently had).

(If you’re not a member yet, but want to become one, click here.)

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