Word of the Year for 2011: Happiness

As I wrote about yesterday, a few years ago I began choosing a word for the year rather than deal with resolutions that would fall flat quickly.

Choosing a word for the coming year proved a bit more difficult for me than in the past. I have a baby due near the end of January which makes it hard for me to envision exactly what my year will look like.

Obviously there will be a new little loved one in my happy little family and I know it will impact our daily lives dramatically, but it's hard to fathom what that means until it actually happens. So when it came time to start looking ahead for what I want in 2011, I was having trouble pinning it down.

While on the phone with a very dear friend last week, I mentioned my word of the year conundrum and said I may just carry "shine" with me from this year right on through to next year, but that I didn't feel it was quite right.

Let me say here that there is absolutely nothing that can take the place of a friend who thoroughly understands you and can help light the way when you're lost. And my friend did just that.

As I talked to her about my need to prepare myself for new motherhood, being able to care for my family and also make sure I don't lose myself along the way, she suggested "nurture."

I thought about it. I rolled it around on my tongue a little. I let my imagination conjure images and definitions. It had possibilities. My only concern was for some reason even though I thought of it as supporting, encouraging, and caring, I kept feeling this underlying tone of responsibility.

I knew it was on the right path, so I took that word and let it lead me where I needed to go. The part that felt lacking to me was the joy part. Aha! "Happiness." That's what I need more of.

In the past few months I've allowed myself to fall into routines, doing the things that need to be done. In doing so I realized that I let myself get irritated in some situations where I should be having fun and living in the moment. You know... "I don't have time for fun right now. I'm busy!"

Yikes. What a horrible mindset.

So I'm going with it. More happiness. Because, yes, this year I want to nurture my little baby boy when he gets here. And yes, I want to continue to nurture my husband and my stepson. Equally important, I want to nurture myself, my desires, my creativity, my quiet time. But mostly, what I want is to enjoy the process of doing those things.

I want to remember to be happy in the moment, not just fall into a care-taking, to do list following pattern. I want to take care of my family and myself, but I want to be sure to smile while doing it. I want to continue writing because that's where I get my focus and my drive. I want to laugh and cuddle and be present in the moment. I want to incorporate happiness into even the most mundane tasks. (Is it possible to find happiness while washing dishes? I intend to find it.)

Besides, it's important for our kids to see us happy and enjoying ourselves. It's good for them to see us having fun, smiling, and laughing.

That's what I want for myself, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, and my home in 2011. More happiness.

What will you choose for your word of the year?


  1. happiness is perfect! i'm so glad that your personal mission came to light with such a joyful, positive word. it summons images of happy hugs, beaming smiles and the rich warmth of the year to come. my 2011 word is . . . balance. (wink)

  2. what a great word.. filled with such joy and positive energy!


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