Word of the Year

I saw an article the other day suggesting we think about a “word of the year” for 2021. It seemed way too early to be thinking about such things, 2021 is ages away! Months! And then I looked at a calendar and it was somehow already December and 2020 is almost over.

I like to have a word of the year and I never did get around to settling on one for last year but that was probably for the best. It was probably going to turn out to be something totally nonsensical like “travel” or something full of irony like “health.” Looking back, with all the craziness and life changes and world changes for 2020, I think a good word of the year might be “survival.” I read another article recently that talked about how surviving 2020 was the major accomplishment of the year, and we did, so that’s good.

I think we’re all hoping for great things in 2021. Perhaps politics will be friendlier and more cooperative and people will learn to value compromise and listening. Perhaps we will find a good vaccine for the virus, and enough people will be willing to take it, that we can go back to normal – or some kind of new normal, at least. Perhaps we will learn something about longstanding social problems like health care for the elderly and the adaptability of school systems and implement exciting new solutions. Perhaps my mother will learn to video chat and we can continue to keep closer in touch with those that are far away, because we’ve had many months of practicing even with those who live next door.


Like many people, I had dark days back in the fall when the whole shutdown felt too long and bleak and endless. I’m feeling more cautiously optimistic now. I have no idea how the government is going to recover and how we are going to restore people’s faith in the world this coming year, but I believe it could happen.

So for 2021, I wish you peace and love, and good health. But most of all, I wish you JOY.

4 thoughts on “Word of the Year

  1. Jacquelyn

    The song Peace Train by Yusuf (Cat Stevens) has become my anthem because it exactly sums up how hopeful I feel that the Vaccine is gliding towards us, pushing the time of isolation and darkness away. Peace Train will be my word for 2021. In my mind, its a train of full of hope and hard working people that will pull our whole city toward a new, brighter day.

    Now I’ve been smiling lately,
    Thinkin’ about the good things to come
    And I believe it could be,
    Something good has begun

    Oh Peace Train sounding louder
    Glide on the Peace Train
    Come on now Peace Train
    Yes, Peace Train holy roller

    Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
    Come on now, Peace Train

    Get your bags together,
    Go bring your good friends, too
    ‘Cause it’s getting nearer,
    It soon will be with you

    Now come and join the living,
    It’s not so far from you
    And it’s getting nearer,
    Soon it will all be true

    – Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Peace Train

    Thank you Lynn for your blog, its always a wonderful read. Happy Holidays.

  2. I hear you. We lost Matt’s mom this year after burying her mom at 95 two years ago, and we’re really not okay with it, among all the other bullshit. But we still have so much, and what I try to think when I feel myself spiraling is “why not just think that something good will happen?” I’ve spent so much of my life catastrophizing and you know, I have a really, really nice life. “Gratitude” would be in my top five words for any year.

  3. Joy is a great word. My word for 2020 was Jubilation. (Yep, really.) Some days it was a challenge, but most days it was the word that got me through it all. In every day, somewhere, somehow there was jubilation if I looked hard enough.

  4. After this year, I’m a little gun shy about choosing a word or expecting too much from 2021. Yes, we need a better year and a year of JOY would be fabulous after this one!

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