Inspired by my friend Irene Latham, last year I chose a single word as a theme for the new year. My word for 2009 was enjoy. It was a great focal word for me, and having chosen it publicly, I thought of that word a lot more in 2009 than I usually would have. Forming the word in my thoughts was like a call to attention, and it forced me to see the happier side whatever situation I was in. Just thinking "enjoy" made me enjoy life more, and that made my one little word take on a significance I hadn't expected.
For my one little word for 2010, I started mulling over choices early, back in November. I take everything so damn seriously, and of course, this was no different. I actually worried, "What if I choose the wrong one?" Ugh. I amaze myself with my own capacity for melodrama.
Fortunately, I let myself relax into the process of considering individual words. Many words stopped by for an audition: focus, dream, here, play, invent, see. Some even had a callback. But the right word was still out there, until it was literally whispered in my ear one evening in early December. Robert Krulwich, of the amazing podcast Radiolab, mentioned how the word "delighted" is woefully underused. It stuck in my head, and I thought of the word the next day as Esme and Ada were grinning with excitement about their new advent chocolates with star shapes stamped on them. A square of chocolate, not even half an inch wide. It was such a small thing, but clearly it produced so much delight. Exactly.
So delight it is, my one little word for 2010. Krulwich is right to say it's woefully underused. I can't think of the last time I heard someone say, "I'm delighted!"
It feels a little old-fashioned, but it's all the more appealing to me because of it. I think it's hard to use the word delight in a time like ours, where campiness and mockery set the tone all too often. Delight is innocent in that it's unabashed. If you are delighted, it's obvious. It floods out of you, into your expression, your posture, your voice. Such clear expression is a gift, to the person feeling it, and to everyone else around as well.
For 2010, I want to be that person, who delights, who is delightful, who feels unabashedly delighted. I want to be in the presence of people who shed their skin enough to feel that, too, to just be filled with it.
To start, I'm leaving the Christmas tree up a few more days, which is a few days later than we would normally leave it up. Yes, the house is chaotic with decorations and new toys and old toys. The crisp clean feeling of a tidy house is still out of my reach. But the tree, which my husband carefully grew for us over the past four years, and which has a sweet little open spot that is perfect for the big straw stars we hang--ah, the tree is delightful. It sparkles against the snow, and it still fits the room, it still feels right there. Frankly, I am still delighted by it. Choosing delight--it stays. I hope to choose such little delightful things again and again over the next year, and notice that flood of feeling that comes each time. I send those wishes to you, too.
What word will you choose for 2010?
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