If there was one word to sum up 2020, it was undoubtedly ‘survival’. Now we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet – if anything – we’ve done a Blair Witch-style turnaround and wandered further into the trees, disorientating ourselves further. The British government is the shanky compass that stopped working a few minutes into the camping trip.
So, on speaking with my wise friend Helen, who starts each new year with a new word, designed to shape the next 12 months, I got to thinking about what I want my 2021 word to be. Survival was awarded last year in hindsight while this year’s will be the blueprint. But what do I want from this year?
Honey, I’m tempted to choose survival again and call it a day. I don’t know if I have much more in me than that. Maybe denial? I’m quite content to stick my head in the ground and pretend none of this shit is happening.
But no, neither of those are the one. After a morning of pondering this, I think my word might simply be… ‘be’.
Hear me out. Last year one of my most used phrases was “I’m just taking it day by day”. It got to the point that, if someone had given me a pound for each time I said it, I’d be able to bunker down in a very nice hotel for the rest of Lock-down 3* (or Lock-down with a Vengeance, as I’m affectionately calling it). While repeating it over and over got tiresome quick, it was also the only way I could cope.
I’d get to the end of a day and think, that was okay, I can handle tomorrow – and the horror of what lay ahead (or more accurately, the gaping chasm of the unknown) didn’t seem so daunting. It also made me feel like, for the first time in a long time, I was present and living in the moment. The future seemed so far away that I was forced to face the here and now instead. So to just be makes sense. To just continue to be in the moment and as present and engaged in it as possible.
It also works on another level. As permission to myself to be sad or hopeful or angry. To not just automatically default to “I’m fine”. Most of the time I am fine but with this word I’m giving myself a blessing to feel my feelings. I don’t do that enough and it takes its toll.
Be. That’s my word, yo. I could have picked something a tad more dynamic, like dynamic or ambition or CEO but they can wait their turn (not really, those aren’t really words in my vocabulary). I’m being me this year, giving myself what I need to get through it and being authentic to my feelings.
What’s your word for 2021?
*I’m a day late. I’m publishing this on 04/01 but it was written on the 5th. A new UK lock-down was announced at 8pm on 04/01/2021.