I’ve debated about my choice of a Word of the Year for 2020 for the past few weeks. I even considered not choosing one this year. But ultimately I decided to do so.
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Word of the Year: 2020
My first consideration was “balance”. But when I consider that word I think of a set of scales which are balanced when there is an equal load on each side.
There is a common temptation to feel that in order to have a balanced life we need to give equal weight to each part of it. So many hours for work, equal hours for relationships, etc. But honestly…that is impossible. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for most of us to give an equal number to each part of our lives that we consider important.
I kept kicking around the idea of choosing “balance” until a friend shared this on Facebook:
Graphic by: Rose Hill Designs by Heather Stillufson
Other than the fact that “mindful” is on the list twice, the word that immediately caught my eye was “harmony”. And I knew immediately that was the word I was looking for.
Ever since 6th grade I have sung in choirs – church, junior high, high school, university. I’m not a soloist by any stretch of the imagination but I can carry a tune, read music, have good rhythm and have the sort of voice that blends well in a choir. I’ve noticed that sometimes a choir with lots of soloists doesn’t always sound harmonious. The voices are too distinctive and some soloists are not very aware of the need to blend their voice with that of others.
As I considered all that I realized that “harmony” is an excellent descriptor of the concept I want to embrace this year.
I desire a life in which each part is in harmony with the rest. Not always exactly equal. In a choir, you usually want to bring out the melody a bit more than the other parts. And yet without the rest of the voices the song will lack depth and interest. By the same token, if the alto line overpowers the melody, it will sound odd and unbalanced. A good choir director will help each section find the volume that blends into a harmonious whole with no one part dominating the rest.
I have sometimes felt in recent years that certain parts of my life have taken over “my song” and the result isn’t pretty. Too much time and mental focus in one area overshadows the rest and life feels dull and boring. Or loud and strident.
Bringing all parts of my life into harmony is my focus for 2020. It will require close attention, like that of a choir director.
“Sopranos…shh…you’re too loud.”
“Bring out that bass line a bit more in this section.”
“Pick up the tempo.”
“Once more…with feeling!”
The other reason I chose “harmony” is the more literal relationship to music. Music is extremely important to me. My husband and I have an LLC – Happyland Music Alliance, and a nonprofit – HMA Foundation, both of which were created to promote live music and the arts in our community. We spend countless hours in this pursuit and yet we’ve allowed music to become more of a job than a pleasure.
This is the year I recapture my passion for simply enjoying music. I was an early adopter of Spotify, back when an invitation was required to join. I have created well over 100 playlists. We also have a very nice stereo system and growing collection of vinyl. Yet somehow I’ve not made use of these as much as I would like the past couple of years. I’m going to be more intentional about listening to music. I also want to make sure we attend at least two concerts this year and several live music events that we are not responsible for hosting.
Do you choose a “word of the year”? I’d love to hear yours and why you chose it. Leave me a comment or feel free to email me privately if you’d prefer.
Previous “Word of the Year” posts: