where wildly different is perfectly normal
Words Are Hard
Words Are Hard

Words Are Hard

2021 Phrasing

I have a lot of conversations with myself. I mean, doesn’t everyone? Those inner dialogues that take on a life of their own? Just me? Hm. Well, at least I always have an audience. Lately the conversations have take a self-critical turn.

Current Jen: Past self, what the hell? You couldn’t get your poop in a group long enough to keep your life in order? Establish and maintain an exercise routine? You need to swerve back to a healthy lifestyle or you’re gonna regret it. A tall woman with no strength nor balance is like a rotting redwood; the higher they are the harder they fall. What’s with these random aches and pains? And let’s not even talk about your weight. Or all the missed deadlines and dusty emails and all the things I wanted to have done by now.

Past Jen: Bugger off, bossypants. There was and still is a pandemic going on, and it’s getting worse. Mental and emotional bandwidth has been scarce. We’ve been marinating in 110 proof cortisol for 10 months, and the stress tinnitus makes it nigh impossible to concentrate. The poop isn’t grouped because the poop keeps rolling around, the floor is bucking like a spooked ass, and I’m tied to the banister with barbed wire. Back off and deal with what’s in front of you now.

Future Jen, looking back at the two of us with a scowl: Don’t make me come back there. So help me, I will pull this timeline over. I will not be held hostage by your shenanigans and I don’t negotiate with terrorists. Get your shit together, now.

Good times, good times.

The inner conversations at the end of 2020 trying to suss out a 2021 word of the year were epic. Lots of words volleyed about, some heated exchanges, prize fights over who was more exhausted, and holy hell the eye rolling. So much eye rolling. I always thought my inner child was a 12 year old boy but apparently there’s also a teen girl with an attitude problem hiding in there as well.

In the end, Future Jen won the battle. Not a word for 2021 but a phrase.

be in service to your future self

After 2020’s harmony ended up being a deafening cacophony of a shitstorm, the yearly word search was more challenging than a Boggle board with no vowels. 2020 left me drained and limp, like everyone I know, and the thought of pulling myself away from the abyss was exhausting. Not the actual doing, just the thinking. At some point “what would Future Jen want to have happen?” went through my head and evolved into the phrase I’m using to guide me this year.

Future Jen would very much like to be healthy, reasonably content, and on track to meet some long postponed goals. So that means Current Jen needs to make the decisions to get there. Change is made through very small tweaks that become bigger modifications that become those audacious goals we all want to hit. I’m focusing on those little tweaks while keeping an eye on the goals.

At the end of 2021 I want the Jens to have a more productive conversation:

Current Jen: Dude, Past Jen, you rocked it. Those little tweaks you made daily…hourly even!…added up and look where we are now! Can you believe it? Thank you.

Past Jen: Mmhm. I am pretty damned awesome, if I do say so myself. Glad you see it for a change. Those little tweaks were totally doable. Imma sit here and revel in a job well done.

Future Jen: Uh, guys? Y’all ain’t done. Keep going. I’m still out here, don’t leave me hanging. Hello? Are you guys even listening to me???

Cue the eye-rolling…


2011 strong
2012 grateful
2013 enough.
2014 story
2015 mindful
2016 effort
2017 no word this year
2018 connect
2019 intention/evolution/subtle arrogance
2020 harmony


  1. This line, “After 2020’s harmony ended up being a deafening cacophony of a shitstorm,” literally made me laugh at loud. Maybe because the word of the year was “harmony?” AHAHAHA! Sorry, but it’s hilarious. On a serious note, this is one reason why I do not put any hope into a new year. Instead, I practice the conclusion you came to: focus on making decisions now that your future self will thank you for later. Always learning from the past, tackling what’s in front of me with my future self and goals in mind. Pivoting and tweaking along the way to reach those goals! Wishing you the best!

    1. Jen

      Hand to god, did NOT even occur to me about the irony of harmony and 2020.🤣
      And I thought that sentence said “pivoting and twerking” and I had a mental image of the year that had me in traction by June. lol

  2. All of it. Just… yeah, all of it. You never fail to bring a smile to my tired, pandemicified body, mind and spirit. But hey… we got a new President today. I’ll actually use a capital P on that again. That’s something. Be well, and thanks for always leaving something to inspire, to soothe, to laugh… whatever. It’s always welcome.

Whaddya think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.