It’s time to wrap up my one little word for the year . . . 

text word SHIFT on kaleidoscope background

Well. What an interesting year this has been, word wise!  Looking back with a December-perspective adds so much clarity to the year’s word-choice. At first, I didn’t actually understand WHY the word SHIFT popped up for me this year (I thought I did but I didn’t), and I had no idea where it would take me. But late in the year, I had a few “aha!” moments, and I think I “get it” now. 

What I realized – and what I couldn’t articulate back in January – is that I had experienced so many personal shifts in my life over the past few years . . . that I didn’t feel like I knew who I WAS anymore. I mean, beginning back in 2016 I had dealt with big, personal, life-changing shifts: my mom died, I quit working, my kids married and moved far away, Tom started his own consulting business, I became the primary point-person for my dad. Then, other events happened that completely rocked my sense of the world . . . Trump was elected, the pandemic arrived, the relentless parade of world outrages never slowed. 

It’s been . . . a lot. I was feeling emotionally worn down; I didn’t feel like “me” anymore. I think, at some very deep level, I needed to understand that . . . shift . . .  I was feeling. I could sense something had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it. In the words of the Wallflowers . . .

“Man, I ain’t changed but I know I’m not the same . . .”
— The Wallflowers, One Headlight

My word this year . . . was not neat and tidy. But I did manage to get to the very bottom of (what felt like) a very messy closet by the end of the year. It’s been a deeply personal experience for me. Meaningful. Not easy to explain. And certainly not very bloggable. But probably the most intense and growth-oriented one little word experience I’ve ever had. (It was a ‘figure out” word, rather than a “do something” word.)

Although I struggled with (fought with?) this word for the first half of the year, I have a feeling it will be one of those “forever words” for me . . . one I’ll never be “finished” with. That said, I am ready to move forward – with a new word for a new year.

My big take-away lessons from SHIFT:

  • Anticipate the shift. Things are shifting all the time. Be open. Be aware. Keep your hand on the gearshift and your foot on the clutch.
  • SHIFT = STRENGTH. Being able to shift when we need to is a sign of strength, adaptability, and resilience.
  • You really can’t push the river. (It flows by itself.)
  • Priorities shift . . . and that’s okay.
  • It’s never too late to shift the way you think about things.


Join me tomorrow when I review the ups and downs of my year.


I really enjoyed creating a “shift journal” for myself this year. Here’s a quick little video of me flipping through the pages. You can also find photos of some of my favorite pages in the Field Notes section of this blog.