Vignettes on Aging – Words

According to Merriam-Webster, the 2024 word of the year is authentic.
More people searched for authentic on Webster’s online site than any other word.

What is the purpose of having a Word of the Year?

Essentially, it’s a word that defines how you want to show up and live your life in the upcoming year. Some examples of words of the year you might hear people say are: flourish, grounded, happy, adventure, brave, faithful, joyful, play, peace, and rest. These words can then guide their goals and actions for the year.

AARP has said “Picking a word of the year can bring clarity and focus to who we want to become and what we want to accomplish in life. A carefully chosen word is a type of mental mentor — something to help us stay motivated as we move toward our goals.”

Many people choose to intentionally select a word that will be their life theme in the new year. This word essentially encompasses or guides how they approach the upcoming year. It also often challenges people to strive towards personal growth. I’ve seen online other people’s word(s) for 2024 include connection, imagine, resilience, joy, abundance.

A chosen word for the year creates clarity, power, passion and life-change. The simple power of that one word is that it impacts all six dimensions of your life – mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial. Whether you’re a goal-setter, a person who faithfully makes New Year’s resolutions, or none of the above, setting your thoughts on one word for the year cannot be a bad thing.

I thought about what one word I might pick to focus on during 2024, and the word was accountability. It’s obvious that gratitude would be the first word I thought of, but it felt too used and worn out. I focus on gratitude every single day. Having a different word expands my focus to include another positive aspect in my life.

Do you have a word for 2024? If not, do you see the value in thinking of one or more that might help you stay your course in what is likely to be a bumpy ride of a year?

Here are some guidelines for picking a word of the year for yourself:

  • Think about who you want to be in your best self and pick one main word from this list of descriptors.
  • Make sure the word is something you want to do, rather than something you think you should do. You have a better chance of following through on words that speak to your spirit.
  • Resist the urge to run the word by someone before you choose it, to avoid being influenced by an outside opinion.
  • Ask yourself whether you can commit to the word. If not, go back to your list. If so, you’re one closer to what you want out of life for 2024.