Lifestyle Issues

Finding Your 2020 Word of the Year

Pink background with gold 2020 on sticks at the bottom, text overlay reads Choosing your Word of the Year, PetiteFont.comI really like the Word of the Year exercise. My 2020 word of the year did not come as easily as in the previous year. Last year’s word was CREATE and it felt like it came to me. This year I had to actively seek it out. Probably because I was fighting through a lot of crap recently.

I’m not going to mince words (ha). 2019 sucked. Hard. It was really difficult to fight through it, but here we are! Yay!

It started with my dad’s heart attack in May. I processed this by making lists, trying to get affairs in order, and crying a lot. I was stuck in a dark place for a long time after that.

Spoiler: he’s mostly okay now and is turning 80 YEARS OLD next week!

After that, it seems like our upstairs neighbor also went on the attack and our home’s harmony was destroyed.

There’s not much you can do when you live under someone that routinely abuses their spouse at all hours of the day and night. The police were no help, neither were other neighbors. She also loved to stomp around the house all day (and night). In cement shoes.

My mom, who stayed over to house sit once, described it as having a demolition machine over your head. We were able to break our lease and finally move away from that terrifying situation, but we had to endure it for what felt like an eternity.

After all that, I just felt broken. Neither Ryan nor I had a decent night’s sleep for over 6 months, and we were constantly on edge from the neighbor’s destructive outbursts. It was like having a newborn baby, this lack of sleep, except we didn’t birth anything but frayed nerves and a new level of perpetual anxiety. We felt like hostages to her whims.

Your home is supposed to feel like a sanctuary, a respite from the outside world where you go to recharge. Ours was pure hell. I’m frankly surprised we never turned on each other from that unrelenting stress. Plus moving twice within one year is super expensive and exhausting. I guess love got us through that.

Yay love!

There were, of course, really great moments in the year too. We celebrated 3 years of marriage (twice!), reunited with 40+ family members in Puerto Rico, and I really put my 2019 word of the year to work when I created Sew My Style 2020. That alone culminated in a great launch last week with an additional 800 participants joining in just the last 3 weeks! I’m super excited about what I’ve reimagined it to be this year, and this was a major bright spot in an otherwise dismal year.

I also wrote a book! Talk about pouring creative energy into a project.

My niece turned 18 in November and I wanted to give her some wisdom that I’d wish I’d had at that age. And it just somehow turned into a 10-page booklet! It’s called 5 Lessons to My Younger Self. I’m thinking of making it available later this year. But it’s so personal that I’m a little hesitant about it. Which is probably exactly why I should do it!

And then I was on a podcast! It aired just this week, but it was recorded in December. And when I was invited to do it in November, I was so surprised that I screamed!

Yes, I really screamed. Lol.

So the darkness was definitely punctuated by some very bright spots.

Examples of Others’ 2020 Word of the Year

So what’s the word for 2020?

Seems like no one publishes their new words until later in the year. All the major dictionaries are only showing their 2019 words, and even Melinda Gates hasn’t made hers public either. So here are the 2019 words from those sources:

The Crafty Ass Female podcast hosts did make their words known. In episode 106, they both reveal their words and thought processes behind each. Amanda’s is home and Kristin’s is connection.

“Home” hit really close for me, but it wasn’t quite right. We did, after all, get a(nother) new home. One I’m hoping we’re in for at least a full year this time. But I needed it to be larger than that.

My 2020 Word of the Year

To find my 2020 word of the year, I went through the exercise I outlined in last year’s WOTY post:

  1. Take a moment to reflect and be self-aware.
  2. Visualize your word.
  3. Brainstorm.
  4. Narrow your options.
  5. Tell others and test your word.

I came up with quite the list doing this. I consulted the thesaurus a LOT looking for the right combination of sounds and connotations. My list looked like this:

  • Freedom
  • Liberty
  • Liberate
  • Free/Unshackle
  • Sanctuary
  • Haven
  • Shelter
  • Relief
  • Release
  • Respite
  • Relax
  • Renew

You can see how much the neighbor situation played into this list. Being free of those awful circumstances was at the forefront of my mind. Slowly I realized that my word to start with RE. That’s when I started down the list of relief, release, and ended up at RENEW.

I like that renew is an action, just like create is. And it feels like the right way to follow up 2019’s word.

My previous words:

2017: focus

2018: grow

2019: create

2020: renew

So how am I using renew? It’s about recommitting to projects, renewing my faith in myself and my abilities, and a reminder that you can always try again.

I also like how it reminds me of the library, which is an institution I love! Almost all the books I read these days are borrowed from the library—and I have to renew them at least once each!

Do you do this WOTY exercise? What is your 2020 word of the year? Share below so we can all learn from each other!

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