I'll readily admit that I'm a tad late in participating in this yearly endeavor. I've shocked myself that I'm even writing about this. But it snuck up on me, and I've got to let it fly.
Every year, right around New Year's Eve, it seems everyone posts about struggling to find their "word of the year". I just shrug. I grok that many are looking to create a mood for the year, or a mantra to live by. Most words-of-the-year tend toward the lofty and aspirational: bliss, rest, create, peace, inspire. All admirable, to be sure, but unlikely to last beyond the next holiday.
As background, I offer up this roundabout story. Stick with me.
Back in the 90s, I was a member of a beach house for many years. A large group of disparate friends would rent a beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for 4 months each summer. Weekends were pure bacchanalia—we spent them carefree, sunburnt, and buzzed.
One weekend, our housemate Mark announced that he now wanted to be referred to as "The Edge." You'll doubt me, but he was sober and serious. This was a dude who shaved everyday (even on vacation), read the Wall Street Journal on the beach, and actually wore a dicky when we went out drinking, not in jest.
As patiently and calmly as I could, I explained that not only can you NOT pick your own nickname, but you can't pick the same one as the world-famous drummer from U2 (second from left, for you squares).
This is my roundabout way of explaining that I never could pick an aspirational word to guide me through the upcoming year. My resolutions never stick. And I'm too much of a realist to think I can create my own destiny when it comes to bliss and peace and inspiration.
But recently, something happened that made me realize I DO have a word that just might be my north star: LET'S. A co-worker told me that I say it a lot, and it's always, um, inspirational. To wit:
LET'S get out of here!
LET'S do this!
LET'S do it again! (which I say after every deadline at our newspaper)
So, there it is. Sometimes the word finds you. Or maybe you had it all along.