Whenever I look back at myself from the start of 2019, I almost find it funny; I really didn’t know what was coming. But I also remember that I gave myself a word of the year—something falling in the gray between expectation, theme, resolution, and mantra, defining the governing sentiment of the year—and remember why I had labeled 2019 “bloom”. I was supposed to not know what was coming. My foresight was supposed to fail. I wanted to bear witness to my own reconstruction, whatever that meant; or an “unclasping and letting go”, as I put it in my first blog post of 2019.
At the same time, I knew exactly what I wanted back then, even if it was to be hit in the face with the unknown (which was fulfilled in every sense). This year, I found myself in quite the opposite state. I no longer feel like I am at the cusp of something humming and radiant, waiting to fall into it or climb onto it or rip it open with my fingers. This year—a new decade—December 31st crept up on me, and I felt embarrassed and ambushed at the end of what had been an exciting few months. Displaced. No longer a participant in my own timeline, just doing, just going.
So I wanted 2020’s word to encapsulate some vague and hopefully multi-faceted meaning that may counteract that feeling, and after a lengthy internal debate, I landed on a fresh-sounding, free-spirited candidate: sail.
Travel in a boat with sails, especially as a sport or recreation
To set out on a journey. To know that it is lengthy, but be up for a challenge. To know that there will be turbulence, but to set sail anyway. To be okay with turbulence when it happens, and maybe even love the way it molds the itinerary as if nothing had ever been planned out beforehand.
Move smoothly and rapidly in a stately or confident manner
To have intention behind my movements. To formulate a direction as the year passes; maybe only for a short leg of the greater journey, but a direction nevertheless. To be aware of where my energy, time, and resources are flowing into, and where they are coming from. To be purposeful in my relationships, even if part of the purpose is to lack a purpose.
A piece of material extended on a mast to catch the wind and propel a boat or ship
Someone that is grateful for a breeze. Someone that knows how best to turn what it is given into energy. Someone that provides the force of their own propulsion, making the most out of circumstances that are otherwise outside of their control. Someone that is not satisfied with being a lesser version of oneself. One eye on how much could really be done. Someone that catches the wind.