The Word of 2018: Light

As the years have gone by, I’ve gone through a few cycles of New Year’s rituals. As a child, I used to spread out things on my bed that reflected what I wanted in the new year. Unsurprisingly, this hodgepodge always included a stack of books, my journal, and my flute. In my early twenties, I started writing New Year’s letters to myself, condensing all the events of the past year. But then I started writing in my journal regularly again, and I abandoned that project after a few years. (I sort of regret that I didn’t continue.) More recently, I’ve been choosing a word every year to reflect something I want to keep in mind for the coming year.

In 2014, that word was ACCEPT, a reminder that still calms me in situations where I can’t control the outcome. In 2016 it was BRAVE, and I still carry my Gryffindor keychain to remind me to identify fear and choose to overcome it. My 2017 word, ENGAGE, prompted me to put myself out there. I ended up joining a wonderful book club and submitting my writing to more places, which led to more publication credits and even an award.

Given the success of previous words, I put a lot of thought into what the word of 2018 should be, but the decision was easy in the end: as soon as I hit on it, I knew it was just what I needed.

My word for 2018 will be LIGHT.

When I look back on these few years where my two kids are young, I’m probably going to wonder how I did it all: teach full time, parent, write novels, take care of the house and nurture family relationships, read a hundred books in a year, etc. It’s clearly the busiest time of my life– not the worst, or the hardest, but definitely the most full– and sometimes that weighs me down. Sometimes I get bogged down in the minutiae, executing items on a list instead of stepping back and seeing the big picture. I don’t want life to feel like a burden, but sometimes it feels a bit hard to carry all the responsibilities I’m shouldering.

The answer: I need to intentionally nurture LIGHT. I need moments that take me out of the everyday. I need humor, delight, freedom. I want to live with a light heart, and see every day as a blessed gift instead of a series of tasks.

Here are a few ways I can nurture LIGHT in 2018:

  • Read funny books.
  • Listen to humorous podcasts. (Any recommendations?)
  • Take a moment during the busiest part of my morning to stop and breathe.
  • Find a regular task that I can link to a moment of gratitude, such as opening a door or getting up from a chair.
  • Dance more often, especially with my children and my young students.
  • Sign up for a joke-of-the-day email.
  • Stay mindful of things that fill me with delight: flowers, birds chirping, the smell of baking bread.

Does anyone have suggestions for me on how I can keep it LIGHT in 2018? 

What’s your word of the year? 

Hey– if you haven’t signed up for The Perspective Post yet, now’s a great time! My most recent email included a more detailed story on how I came to choose LIGHT for 2018. It involved, of all things, a flute lesson. Read the email here, then sign up for monthly doses of perspective using the newsletter tab. 


4 Responses to “The Word of 2018: Light”

  1. I identify with so much of this post, Leanne. Even though I am done raising my child (mixed emotions), I still find that I “get bogged down in the minutiae, executing items on a list instead of stepping back and seeing the big picture.” I also tend to see my days as a list of tasks to complete, rather than a gift to enjoy! Part of this I know is that as a freelancer, I feel like there is always something more that needs doing. I struggle with the concept of “doing enough.” (Maybe that should be a future word of the year for me?)

    I love how your words of the year have worked for you, and sincerely hope “Light” will be all you want and need it to be. I think you’ve got a good handle on starting the year off with lightness–and now that you’ve focused on it, “light” will find you!

    I have a suggested podcast for you: Vinyl Cafe Stories. A friend introduced me to them, and they are utterly delightful.

  2. I find it so interesting that you move forward through the year with a particular intention (one that’s encapsulated in your chosen word of the year). I tend to look back on the past year, reflect on what I learned and how I’ve changed, and how I hope to conduct myself in the year based on that reflection. (It’s a big reason why I think I’m still more of an ISFJ than an INFJ.)

    Anyway, I love your word for 2018. Light in all its forms (figuratively speaking) is something we can all nurture more of in our lives. It also makes me curious to see how your choice of lightness might impact your writing life in 2018.

    Also, I don’t know any places where you can sign up for a “joke of the day” email… But I get a Word of the Day email from that features a quote on gratitude, spirituality, compassion, happiness, etc. Maybe that might be worth a look? Here’s the link:

    Best wishes to you for a happy, healthy, and creative 2018, Leanne! 🙂

    • Leanne Sowul says:

      Hi Sara, I’m not sure how much my word impacts my actual goals, or writing plans for the year. I make those plans pretty much continuously, so the word is more about my inner mindset, something that I need to remember.

      Thank you for the gratitude website!!

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