You know how in Eat Pray Love, the sage memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert summarizes entire cities and personalities into one singular word? New York City is predictably assigned Achieve, Stockholm receives Conform, and the word Attraversiamo, which means “let’s cross over” in Italiano, is eventually assigned to Gilbert herself.
Now there is even a Facebook group to one-word devotees, where the city Provo, UT gets Marry, and Jacksonville, FL is stuck with Ridiculous. But there’s no need to stop at cities and people. Much can be acutely summarized in one word – your dinner meal, a presidency, a TV show – and now, as the year comes to a close, the last 365 days.
I’d like to tell you my word for 2010 was Sex! or Moola-oh-la-la, but alas, my every day isn’t filled with lingerie and shopping. We can save those words for the The Real Housewives or perhaps, Penelope Trunk (I only jest).
No, this year brought about a reverie from anxious comparisons and slowly, but surely I learned to lean less on my measuring stick for support. Perhaps most revealing is that my lungs experienced the luxuriate familiarity of full and deep breaths again and again, sometimes for entire days.
People will often ask me how I like DC or what my relationship with Ryan is like, and I will reply, “I feel like I can finally breathe.” Shorthand, which I hope people understand to mean that Ryan and the city allow me to sink into more of myself. They allow me to be more of me. People will often say Comfort to describe being able to be themselves. But I think it is more than that, as it is also Challenge.
The dichotomy between comfort and challenge is where I found my word for 2010 sitting in flashing lights above my head as I pondered (and is also my sorry attempt at describing Love which selfishly eludes description).
It is not really a word to describe the entirety of 2010, but rather the result of each day following the day before it. The word is – Confidence. That is, this is the year I got my mojo back.
Incidentally, when I did this exercise last year, I expected the year of 2010 to be all about Friends, Social/Culture. Yes, that is how I wrote it, forward slash and all. Which is exactly what DC has been the past two months, plus a healthy dose of Family. Funny how things work out in the end.
(The year of 2009 carried the theme Ryan/Alice, Love is All Around in case you were wondering).
My choice for a feeling to carry me into 2011 is Follow-Through. It’s a dull choice perhaps, but also full of intention, continuance, and completion. And it has so many great translations from its literal definitions like “movement after the release,” and “continue until all motion of body has ceased,” – all of which are so lovely when you apply them not just to baseball or golf, but to the excruciating discipline of self.
So, cheers to that. And cheers to you, dear reader, and whatever word you have in mind for 2011.
In participation with #reverb10.