“Challenge. It’s my word for 2015,” she said.
At that moment, for reasons I cannot explain, we knew that the conversation to follow would be memorable. It was just clear that the four of us had moved from frivolous, fun, no-direction chatter to a much higher, sequential, magical plane. We were about to discuss life and its importance. And from my vantage point, we weren’t disappointed with what followed.
Her plan was to select one word. Just one word. She would use that one word as a guide, a beacon for her journey from January until December. She offered no additional rules, and asked if we wanted to participate. Just choose one word and keep a steadfast focus on that word until the end of the year. We all nodded in agreement.
In less than one week, my three friends had landed on their words: Challenge . . . Change . . . Zen, all intriguing, inspiring, daring, complex choices. But, within the same week, I was still in some type of holding pattern. Wordless.
Along with starting off 2015 searching for the right word, it just happened that I had been reading some very interesting writing. A blog, familiar to me in the year past, was detailing circumstances in countries beyond my experiences. The topics varied from post to post with what I identified as a golden thread of humanity holding it all together. I would see the photos and read the words, and quickly my mind was blurring with thoughts.
Suddenly, I had a plethora of potential 2015 word possibilities: free, help, center, food, happy, others, world, poverty, irony, give, get, lost, woman. The more I read, the more words floated to the top. Now, my problem was no longer a lack of words; it was finding and selecting the right word from the crowded list.
Hmmm . . . what to do . . . .
Though my friend provided no particular rules, by default there seems to be a couple. First, the one word that I choose must fit all occasions. It must be able to balance between moments of distinct joy and happiness as well as moments of considerable pain and sadness. The word must be able to lead me to new adventures, remind me of the difference between good and evil, give me an anchor when I need it, and allow me to laugh, love, and learn throughout an entire year. It should be bold, blessed, and at times, comical . . . humorous . . . fun. It should have an intent.
Even with knowledge and consideration of such rules, the days of 2015 began to pass in rapid succession without me finalizing my pick. I truly was headed towards a million choices and not the selection of one, floundering in a pile of words, until . . . today.
In an odd moment early this morning, I found my word. I happened to be walking through a snow-covered field at 7:45am. It was a quiet moment. The snow had settled, the morning had no wind, and the hour was too early for any traffic. The sun was peeking over a ridge of barren trees and a lonely bird swooned overhead. It was a picturesque moment, an outdoor winter splendor.
Regardless of the extent of the beauty before me, my attitude was not following in kind. My feet were cold, my shoes were wet. The 6+ inches of snow buried the trail for my walk, and each step felt like I was trudging through cement moments before it solidified. My iPod blared out all the wrong music, but with a temperature below zero, I wasn’t about to remove my gloves to change it. And the struggle in walking through the mounds of snow was causing me to be what I thought was late for my eventual rendezvous with my family – who were all comfortably inside about two miles away.
In that moment, at that time, just as my frustrations were nearly getting the best of me, it happened. After nearly fifty days and after some interesting thinking on my part, I found that one word that I could hang my hat on for the rest of 2015. As a matter of course, the one word is actually two, but its essence fits the bill.
So for 2015, I am going with crazy-funny.
For good or for bad, I have a tendency towards the serious side of things. No doubt, I often see the world as having many challenges and problems. And I know, deep in my heart, that I must do all I can to help solve and resolve issues that press at all humans. I must focus on the greater good at all times, lending all of my talents and treasures to such. It is easy to know that I all should do so. But it is difficult to follow through with that focus for all of us. – always.
That’s where my word crazy-funny works for me.
As I seek the greater good, I can see that it is important to laugh – laugh at myself, at life, at the crazy-funny situations that happen each moment. This morning, I had chosen to walk to my destination through that snow-covered field. I should have known that the entire experience was going to be nothing more than a crazy-funny circumstance and have expected nothing more.
Once I started to laugh at the strange pickle I was in, (wading through piles of snow with an attitude that was creating a huge weight around my neck), my trek became my pleasure. It was a classic crazy-funny moment. It just depended on how I looked at it. Seeing it as crazy-funny made it so. Still the same amount of snow, still the same distance, still the same challenges with walking, but it was all different because of the way I interpreted it.
I am hoping that my word choice will allow me – and force me – to look at my 2015 with a truly different vision. Here’s hoping that I can hold onto the crazy-funny year ahead of me!