Monday, January 5, 2009

One little word: to name 2009 for myself

I've heard about the one little word idea from a few bloggers, now (my friend Irene among them) and I'm on the bandwagon.

What could be more poetic than focusing on one little word for the new year?

Strange as it seems, finding the right word for the year is feeling sort of like finding a name for a baby or pet.
I've always loved naming things--nicknames, character names, and etymology--what the "names" of words mean themselves. In college, I found a baby name book, and I spent long hours wondering how the meaning of a person's name might influence his or her character. In writing short stories, I found that I was indeed influenced by the meaning of my characters' names; though sometimes, given the wily nature of fictional characters, their personalities veered in the opposite direction of what I had intended.

When the time came for my husband and I to choose names for our pets and our children, we undertook the responsibility as we might a research project. The old "How can you ruin on the playground?" And "Will it make any nasty words in another language?" (which we didn't want, by the way--a la Nicholas Cage in Saturday Night Live) Of all the things we did, my favorite means of testing was to try yelling each name out the back door, as though summoning the kid to dinner. "Fernando!" "Wesley!" "Ainsley!" These didn't have the right ring, clearly. All fine names, but didn't suit for the sound we were seeking.

When we found the name Ada, and later the name Esme, we knew right away. Even before they passed all the tests, they just felt right. That's how it is, I guess.  

Now to naming the year 2009 for myself. Since I heard about the "one little word" last week, I've been absolutely taken with the idea. I want to honor it. So just as I would with finding any other name, I've been letting ideas come to me from what I'm reading, and what I'm saying, and just seeing how they feel. I've been researching and percolating.

Last night, as I was feeding the cats, it came to me: "Enjoy!" I said, and set down their plates of Fancy Feast. And I stood there, cats winding about my ankles, and felt that little Eureka-moment. Exactly.

Enjoy. What a lovely intention. En- as in "to put into," "to go into," "to cover or provide with," "to cause to be," "thoroughly," And Joy--which you know.

While I will admit to the appreciating the hedonistic element of this word, it's really something else that draws me to it. What I like best about the word enjoy is that it's about being actively present, and forcing, ever so gently, a mood. It puts the power on me to make things joyful, to provide joy, to find joy, or put joy thoroughly into things. It gives me responsibility for my own happiness, which is where it should be, right?

And so, my dear 2009, this is what I will do with you as a year, what I will name you. Enjoy. I will find the joy in the littlest spaces, the least expected spots, my lowest moments. I will cover my world with joy. And cause to be...(in).joy

May you enjoy, too, all of your 2009--all of it.

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angela said...

Great choice! I do enjoy your writing so much!

Love, Mom

Irene Latham said...

Wonderful wonderful word! I look forward to reading all the ways you enjoy 2009. :)

Anonymous said...

This is lovely! I am so impressed with your writing. What a perfect word and I hope you find MUCH joy this year.

La Belette Rouge said...

Beautiful. "Enjoy" what a lovely word to hold onto as we enter 2009.

I had planned a name for our new puppy that was loaded with personal meaning and then I met her and her name just flew out of my mouth. I knew he she was.

I am looking forward to finding my word in 2009. I hope it comes to me as easily as Lily did.

Ali said...

That was great. I really enjoyed your post, hehe.

I might have to try and do this too. It's a really cool idea.

Kirie said...

Mom! I'm glad you liked it--my wish is for you to enjoy the year for yourself, too! What word do you pick?

Kirie said...

Irene--you are the one who inspired me to start thinking about "the little word." Thank you--and thanks for all your support, too!

Kirie said...

I'm so pleased that you're reading my blog, and more pleased that you like it! I really like yours, too, and I'm looking forward to reading you on a regular basis--did you see I added you to my blogroll?

Happy 2009!

Kirie said...

Belle: Best wishes to you in 2009, too! I love that Lily's name just came to you--and I know you had LOTS of suggestions and research... Isn't it funny that way? But the right name just fits, doesn't it?

Lily suits her beautifully. And she is a great way to start your 2009. I feel certain it is going to be full of loveliness worthy of her and of you!

I am very eager to hear your little word for 2009! Will keep reading!


Kirie said...

Ali, thank you for the kind comments. It's nice to meet you, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you'll continue visiting--and let me know what word you choose for 2009. I think it's fascinating what people choose. Each word seems to be perfect for that person!


Paula said...

Wonderful idea and I love the word choice 'Enjoy". :)

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