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Whole | One Little Word 2019

For the last five years, I’ve participated in a workshop called One Little Word, which asks participants to pick and live with a word through the year to see what you can learn. The workshop has monthly prompts, which I am hit-and-miss about finishing, but I’ve always enjoyed the process of choosing a word and seeing where it takes me.

My word for 2018 was explore. It was a good word, but one that I felt like I didn’t really live up to as the year went by. Explore is such a big word, and at the end of the year everything about my life felt small. But as I leafed back through my bullet journal, wrote out my facts and feelings, and revisited my original post here on the blog, I remembered that my initial idea of explore was actually pretty narrow:

I want to be a person who feels like the world is a place worth exploring, not person who constantly worries about how the world can crumble underneath her feet. It takes a lot of faith to be an explorer, but I want to try and find that for myself again.

For whatever other ways I didn’t follow through on explore, I know that I did find some of what I was looking for. I have a lot more faith in the world and in myself than I did when 2018 began, which isn’t something to discount or take for granted. Explore was a good word, and I think will continue to echo into the word I’ve chosen for 2019… WHOLE.

Whole is a different kind of word for me. My previous words – curate, nurture, open, persist, explore – have been actions that helped provide a direction or guiding arrow. When faced with a decision, I could look to my word and ask what a person who was living that way – a curated life, an open life, a life of persistence – would choose, and then do my best to go in that direction.

This year my word feels more like a question. I want to think about what a whole life looks like, and what it means to live in a wholehearted way. Whole is an invitation to explore, just in a more focused, grounded way.

As I’ve been trying to think about how to explore this word and let it guide my year, I’ve started to lean into the idea of life as a pie chart. Because it’s a circle, a pie chart is already whole. As choices are made and inputs change, the different slices of that chart start to become more or less prominent to alter the composition of the whole. It’s not entirely about more or less, it’s about consciously choosing less in some places to make space for more in others.

This idea is resonating with me because I think it’s important to acknowledge that, no matter what discomfort I am feeling with my life now, I already have a whole life. There are no gaps or empty chunks in my pie chart, just pieces that don’t feel like they fit together to create the best version of myself and my life. I want to spend the year thinking about what composition of my life helps me feel the most whole and fulfilled. How do I want my life to look different if I am living with intention, goals, and an eye to the future?

In 2019 I want more space, less clutter. More writing, less watching. More moving, less sitting. More time in nature, less time with screens. More reaching, less waiting. More focus, less distraction. More confidence, less discounting.

It feels so squishy, this word, and yet I’m really excited about it.

Each year, I tried to find a quote or manta to go along with my word and help guide the year ahead. This year, there are two quotes that have stuck with me as I’ve been exploring this word:

“The dedicated life is worth living. You must give your whole heart to whatever you do.” – Annie Dillard

“In every atom, there is a reflection of the whole.” – Jay Woodman

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angela January 16, 2019, 6:29 pm

    I love this post! And I love your word choice, whole. I feel like you could get a lot of satisfaction and contentment out of it.

    My word for the year is one you’ve chosen before – open.

    • Kim January 16, 2019, 8:14 pm

      That’s the goal! I feel like it’s going to be a very reflective year, but I’m looking forward to that.

      Open was such a great word for me, I loved that one. It feels like a word I keep coming back to with my other words.

  • Deb Nance at Readerbuzz January 17, 2019, 7:21 am

    This is such a thoughtful post. I’m taken with how much consideration you have given to this word.

    I have picked “play” as my word for the year. I haven’t given it any thought at all, which is the reason I chose to focus (or not-focus) on this word. I’ve picked “play” for the last three years…not sure if that’s because I haven’t mastered “play” (can you?) or I’m just lazy….

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:04 pm

      I think if the word is still calling to you, it makes sense to use it! I think my word from last year is definitely part of my word for this year, just trying to focus in a different way. Good luck!

  • Helen January 17, 2019, 10:49 pm

    Great word choice. I chose a word last year (persevere) and after February forgot all about it. This year I chose fulfillment and am not really sure why. I think I need to be a lot more thought into my one word.

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:05 pm

      That’s why I like signing up for the workshop, it helps me keep my word in mind throughout the year. I don’t really do the creative/memory keeping parts of it, but I like the reminders.

  • Christina January 18, 2019, 9:21 am

    A pie chart with pieces that don’t quite fit together…I really like that way of thinking. And I’m right there with you on wanting more moving and less screens.

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:06 pm

      That’s a big one for the year, especially once it gets nicer outside. I want to get away from the TV to spend time outside or with people.

  • Stephanie January 19, 2019, 9:38 am

    Wow…you are such an inspiration to me! Thank you for this beautiful post!

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:06 pm

      Thank you!

  • iliana January 20, 2019, 5:53 pm

    I love the word you chose and what it means for you. I don’t do this but after reading so many posts about choosing one word it really makes me wonder why not. I love the inspiration!

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:06 pm

      It’s a nice way to frame the year. I also like to set more specific goals, but having just a general direction always feels helpful to me.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End January 20, 2019, 7:12 pm

    This is a wonderful word for the year. I always really respect how much you think about your years at the start of each one, and focus on what elements you want to bring forward in the coming months. Way to be, my friend.

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:08 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I feel like I had to think a lot more about this one than I have in the past, it wasn’t quite as clear to me what it meant but since it kept popping up I had to go for it.

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey January 21, 2019, 1:27 pm

    I think this seems like a great word. Reading your post is making me feel inspired to pick a word of the year as well.

    • Kim January 22, 2019, 8:09 pm

      I love doing it every year, it’s a nice, simple way of focusing my ideas and feeling like I have a little direction.

  • Laurie C January 27, 2019, 7:32 pm

    My word is “Generosity” although I haven’t posted it anywhere until now. I want to be generous in spirit (in general); also generous with my time, and with my possessions. I like your explanation of your word choice and it sounds like a good one for 2019!

    • Kim February 2, 2019, 3:33 pm

      I love that word too!