Just Say "No," 2017

It's 2017 and the "One Word" folks have come out in full force. I saw them on Facebook and Twitter, slinging words like resistance, or discipline, or spontaneity (an ironically planned and unspontaneous use of the word).  The words read like truncated manifestos leaving so many read-between-the-line impressions. And as if this were not enough for the One-Worders, nearly every one of them badgered the rest of us to participate, asking, "What's your One Word?" No.

As in, "No; I won't have the course of 2017 predestined by the rigidity of one word I chose when I saw the ball drop."

As in, "No; I don't need one more personal manifesto to share with the world."

As in, "No; I won't be defined."

I No-ed and No-ed and No-ed (eternal rebel as I am), and the word needled its way into my brain's many sulci, got sandwiched like ham in the fatty folds. The Nos swam there for a tiny minute, then a quarter-hour, then an hour. Three days later, the word is still stuck in my craw. Sometimes, I suppose, this is how decisions are made--by accident. (And to you who chose the word spontaneity, this is how true spontaneity works. The moment sneaks up on you and you go with it. See?)

If you know me, you know I've never been a proponent of the One Word trend. Perhaps it's because of my innate resistance to trends. Maybe it's because I lack the discipline to follow through. More likely, I'm fickle; I embrace spontaneity like a lover. (Do not box me in, I say.) But when I stop and think of that No, the way it drove itself like a framing nail into my mind palace, I suppose I'm left with the impression that the universe might be trying to tell me something.

Say, Universe, what are you trying to tell me?

The truth is, I have a strong bent toward people-pleasing. I'll yes, and yes, and yes my way into commitment after commitment, losing track of the time it takes to deliver on all these yeses. Isn't every yes an allocation of seconds, minutes, and hours? Isn't every yes a decision to spend time, effort, or money?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I look back over 2016, the way it ran away from me quicker than a pack of mad lemmings. I packed each day of 2016 full. Writing obligations; phone calls; client meetings; church activities; business startup plans; house chores. I didn't say no until I'd  scheduled too many twenty-six hour days (before sleep). I yes-ed my way into oblivion, into exhaustion, and right over the edge of 2016's cliff (see, e.g., the above metaphor regarding mad lemmings). I said yes, even though it meant sacrificing the best use of my time, talent and energy.

And so, I suppose [tweetherder]I'm here to apologize to you One-Worders. I'm not going to lie: I judged you just a little.[/tweetherder] And though I'm late to the party, I'm jumping on the bandwagon. I'm saying yes to this whole One Word thing by saying no. This year, I'll practice evaluating my time commitments, the ways I'm prone to yes-yes-yes my way into exhaustion. I'll try to wrap my lips in the shape of a no more often, difficult as it may be. And in it, maybe I'll find 2017 more restful.


Do you choose One Word every year? Do you make resolutions? I'd love to hear how you're preparing yourself to attack 2017. Would you share your word (or resolution) in the comments below?



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