where wildly different is perfectly normal
Solo Harmony
Solo Harmony

Solo Harmony

Welcome to 2020; May we have a word?

It’s the first day of responsibilities. Back to school, back to work, back to all the things that make up Life. I managed to hibernate away from many things for close to two weeks and it was everything I needed and more. Alas, 2020 called and refused to leave a message, so here we are. No more blanket fort and pants are required.

As with most years since starting this blog, back in November I started hunting for a word that would guide me through the next twelve months . It’s gratifying to see how picking a Word of the Year has taken off the last few years; I remember when it was just Ali Edwards and scrapbookers doing it. My first word, way back in 2011, was strong. My god, how that word ended up being prescient. I needed to be strong to survive that year. Strong was followed by grateful, enough., story, mindful, effort, <no word for 2017>, connect, and last years trifecta of intention/evolution/subtle arrogance. Some years have had better words than others, and better is certainly up for debate. I know the trio I selected for last year helped me hit some goals and evolve a little past my comfort zone; it was a good choice. So I wanted a word this year to continue the momentum of 2019.

I started a list in my bullet journal and added to it whenever a word wandered across my path. My handwriting is impressively atrocious and the words weren’t so much listed as vaguely vomited onto a page in no coherent fashion. Eh, works for me. By the time I finally landed on a word that felt right, there were 26 words tumbling over each other. I write them out so I can see if there is any kind of theme going on, and hoooooboy was there ever! Apparently I was feeling the pull to be flexible in my life, look ahead, and get my shit done. Actually, most of the words had to do with that last one. I’m really really good at planning and not so fantastic with follow-through. I know it’s because I do a lot. I mean, I do a lot. I’ve written about that before, and it’s not going to change. It frustrates me that I don’t get around to all the things, but at this stage of life I’ve accepted my multi-potentiality and just deal with it.

“But Jen, all you have to do is find the right balance!”

Uh-huh. I hate the word balance. Like, haaaaaate it. Know what I mentally envision around that word?

interactive see saw GIF

Up or down. One or the other. Success or failure. Two things. I do multiple things, many multiples of things. This would also be me with the word balance:

falling down seesaw GIF by Team Coco
whoopsie doodle!

And this:

balance GIF

So the word balance, while well-intentioned, would have been as disastrous as the word discipline, which was in the running for several days.

After hunting down online lists of Words of the Year, one winked at me and whistled. Whistled quite beautifully, as a matter of fact, as though it’d had some musical training.


Nearly a decade into this Word of the Year thing and this is the first vaguely musical pick. I’m surprised it took this long.

It’s a complex word, with multiple definitions, and all of them apply to how I want the word to guide me in 2020.
*Pleasing arrangement of parts: accepting that I have so many different interests and passions and responsibilities.
*Internal calm: a work in progress, but I am much calmer and less stressed than ever before. Quit laughing, I am.
*An interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative: this is everything I need right now. Not the either/or of balance but all the different lines working together in harmony. A give and take, all supporting one another, all of them better for the others there with them. How about a musical example, in true band geek fashion?

Balance. One or the other. Taking turns. Makes music, but…ehhhh.
WHOA NELLIE! There’s a lot going on here. But when skillfully guided by the conductor, it is the most incredible music.

Harmony. The word feels right, deep in my soul. It’s the guide I want and need for this year. I have so much I want to do this year, so many ideas and projects, and they need to blend in with my many responsibilities. I’m the conductor of all the lines in my life, and it’s my job to guide them to make the most incredible music.


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