Tag Archives: Word of the Year

Word of the Year

Last year, my word of the year was balance, but as I reread the blog post, I realized it was leaning more towards this year’s word: Imperfection. My description of balance was to find a middle ground rather than shooting for the extremes. I can eat the cupcake, skip the workout, scroll the threads, all in moderation. Perfection is an extreme and often defined by others who are only to happy to sell you their workbook, workout, or video series that will lead you to your “best” life, a code word for perfect.

I started my year exploring imperfection with the January meditation challenge from Ten Percent Happier. I moved from there to a couple podcasts that also emphasized being good with screwing up. Elizabeth Daly’s How to Fail podcast featured Dawn French, a beloved British comedian, whose new book focuses on all her screw ups. It is aptly titled The Twat Files. If you are familiar with French, it is probably via The Vicar of Dibley, her British comedy series that shows up on PBS now and then.

Dan Harris and Amy Edmondson explored the power of failure on an episode of the Ten Percent Happier podcast. I think failure is a bit different from imperfection, more extreme, but I suppose for some people any deviation from their image of perfection represents failure at some level. And knowing that we may not reach that image can also keep us from even trying.

While I was considering imperfection as a potential positive value, I was also in the midst of watching the Australian Open Tennis Championships and the United States Figure Skating Championships, both reminders of the value we place on perfection. In both events, the favorites–those who had gotten closer to perfection than others in the past–struggled, making mistakes, losing their composure, not performing up to expectations. I felt sorry for them as theren really is no room for imperfection in their lives.

I am under no such dark cloud of expectations other than those I might put on myself. So, this year, I resolve to embrace imperfection, to allow myself to learn and explore and create with no expectations of perfection, knowing that, as Austin Kleon suggests, bad art is good, too.

Finding Balance

I don’t make specific resolutions anymore. I set some general intentions and goals for the year related to what I would like to accomplish in various areas of my life from reading to gardening to creating. None of them require the kinds of immediate and sometimes radical changes associated with resolutions.

I do like the idea of choosing a word for the year. I think the last time I did it publicly was in 2016 and I even blogged about it! It’s interesting that the title implied finding a balance between intention and intentional drift and included a couple Twitter conversations. I don’t remember having those kinds of dialogs on Twitter and it is nice to be reminded of the space when it was at least a little more civil.


That’s my goal: balance. I sorted through the Woodland Wardens Oracle Cards by Jessica Roux and found that Balance was represented by a dragonfly, a personal favorite of mine, and pansies, those lovely flowers that bloom in the winter. The dragonfly pendant in the picture was a gift from my mother and sister. The card and pendant sit on a filmy scarf that belonged to my fraternal grandmother. I use it for an altar cloth.

So, what do I mean by balance? I shared a meme from Tiny Buddha Official on Instagram that helps a bit:

Extremes, whether too many cupcakes or too many minutes on the treadmill, are no good for us. Reasonable goals with attainable goals are more likely to lead to success, and an attitude of balance may keep us from beating ourselves up. This goes along with my idea of daily-ish practices borrowed from Dan Harris.

Speaking of Dan Harris and Ten Percent Happier: they are sponsoring a free challenge starting on Monday, January 9, that will feature the Dalai Lama and focus on happiness. I encourage you to sign up and participate in some way. I was fortunate to hear the Dalai Lama speak and just being in the same auditorium with him instilled a sense of peace and joy.