For the past three years, I have picked a word of the year. It all started in our annual book exchange with my siblings and their spouses. Instead of presents, we all pick out a book, then we play a game to decide who gets to pick first, second, third, and so on. Well, during the Christmas 2019 book exchange I picked up the word of the year book titled, One Word, that my sister-in-law picked out for the exchange. She was gifted the book by a friend the previous year and loved it so much that she wanted to share it with us. I don’t know about you, but this type of thing is totally up my alley as a type-a, achiever to want to pick a word of the year to serve as a guiding light. I don’t necessarily do resolutions, but I love a fresh year to reignite my goals and connect with my family on what we want in our lives.
I dug into the book immediately and it’s a really fast read so I was picking my word of the year in no time. The process is to find your word of the year is almost spiritual and each year I’m shocked at how confident I am when the word crosses my mind that it is definitely the word. It just feels right.
Here are my words for the past three years:
And for this year, 2023, my word of the year is, free.
How I picked my word of the year for 2023
Like I said, the process to pick the word of the year is almost a spiritual experience and this year I felt a lot of guidance on my journey to pick my word. When the word first hit me I wasn’t even thinking about the word of the year yet. But once it hit, I just knew it was the one.
I was looking to get a daily planner for the upcoming year. I haven’t stuck with planners in the past and I think it’s because I want a lot of space for each day and I want the physical planner for more of daily organization, not to serve as a family calendar (we use Google Calendar for that). But all of the planners that I used (eh, failed to use) in the past were set up as a weekly spread. So I did some research and I stumbled upon the Day Designer and I was getting really excited about it, but I wasn’t sure what cover to pick. I usually want black or cognac, simple simple simple, so the charcoal version caught my eye. But something was telling me to pick a pattern.
I texted my sisters to ask for their opinion and they were all in favor of me getting a pattern. My sister-in-law made the good point that it’s easier to find when it’s distinct, and honestly, I was kind of looking for them to push me towards a pattern. I reviewed the patterns several times and wasn’t really drawn to anything until the most unlikely one stopped me. I was scrolling and right as I passed the Jungle Cat version I thought “wild and free”. FREE. I knew in my gut that I had to get that one.
What was spooky is that not more than twenty minutes after ordering the Jungle Cat Day Designer and confirming that my word of the year would be FREE, I was scrolling on TikTok, saw Kate Hudson doing the “word of the year filter” (which I didn’t even know existed) and her word for FREE. I took a screenshot in disbelief.
What do I mean by free?
For me, the word free is symbolic of stepping into my authentic self with confidence. Free to be who I am. Lean into my true self. Free to speak up when I have ideas. Free to shed others expectations of me. Free to let go over overthinking, rumination, and stress. Free to take a day off when I need it. Free to push hard when it feels right. Free to forge my own path for me, for our marriage, for our family.
Free to be my authentic self with confidence.
How about you?
Do you pick a word of the year? Comment below with your word and considering trying it out if you haven’t already.