My word for 2017

I turned 40 last September, and so far it's going great. I'm not being sarcastic, I really mean it. For example, it's January 1st, and I'm finally free of the tyranny of New Year's resolutions. Instead of hitting the gym, I'm having a dinner of creamy, stinky French cheese and Club crackers. It's AWESOME.

It's not that I ever made crazy resolutions - far from it. But I used to firmly believe in the power of picking a day to make long overdue changes. And then my resolutions went as well as everybody else's, which is to say they didn't go well at all. 

But choosing a word/theme for the year? That has worked well enough that I've chosen a word every January 1st for the past five years. Here they are so far:

2012: More

2013: Simplify

2014: Me

2015: Real

2016: Delight

I've got to pause here. There's not point in sharing this if I'm not going to be honest with you, and the truth is that at some point this fall I remembered my word and I laughed at my innocence in choosing "Delight". I felt nothing near "delight" after the election (ugh) and as I reflected on the year so far, I felt more tired and harried than anything else. 

Perhaps this was the end of the road for choosing a word of the year?

Then Christmas break came along, and with the slower pace I realized that of course there were many things that were delightful last year. I actually made a concerted effort to do more things that *I* found delightful, even if they were not always things that other people would find delightful. And, actually, a lot of the time I was lucky enough to delight in things that are universally accepted as delightful. 

It's funny how space and quiet gives us perspective. Unfortunately, I still wasn't sure that I had a word for 2017, mainly because I really didn't feel like choosing one, and forcing myself to choose a word just to keep a streak going is the opposite of delightful. Also, everyone is doing the Word of the Year thing, and I've always been reluctant to be too on trend. 

This year was going to be the year I stopped - until this afternoon, when I took a walk with my family and I looked up at a street lamp and I realized what my word for the year would be. It would be POWER. I realize how cheesy this sounds, but hear me out. 

Anyone that knows me or has talked to me at depth in the past few months is probably tired of hearing me talk about power and empowerment and needing to recharge my power. It's so obvious that I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before. 

I guess you could say my word chose me. Power. 


One of the first things I though of was that Marianne Williamson quote. You know the one.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

...Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do...

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson

When I relaxed into the reality that I would have a word for 2017, I got to thinking about power in different ways. I thought about how much more comfortable I am about power itself - it's so hard to even acknowledge that you have power, isn't it? One good thing about being older is realizing that power isn't as mysterious as you thought it was when you were younger.

I also realized that I need to recharge my power - so my word of the year would conveniently serve as an excuse to nap and meditate and rest as needed to recharge my batteries. To power up, if you will. 

Oh, and I also need get some physical power - so I guess I do have to get some physical activity in there. 

And what's more, I realized that one of the things that gives me the most power is when I empower others. I'm not good at everything, but I am good at a few things, and it will be my focus this year to indulge my powers (as they are) and to encourage others to wield theirs. I feel electric just typing that. 

You'll see. 

For now, I'll leave you with the dictionary definition of power, as it's tradition on this blog:

Oh, and of course, due to the horrible man an angry and misguided minority has saddled us with, I will be using my power (and empower others as much as I can) to resist what's coming. Because I still can't believe this happened. You can't stop us. ALL OF US.