I got your word of the year right here.

Every Christmas, My Guy and I pick out a special ornament for our tree. It’s typically a Hallmark deal that makes us laugh – like Beaker from The Muppets singing “Ode to Joy” or Darth Vader warning us not to peek before Christmas morning.

Like most things in 2020, our efforts were thwarted … which is a fancy way of saying we never got our shit together. We finally selected an ornament on Dec. 28 as we wandered the picked-over holiday aisles at Target. Our options, while deeply discounted, were limited. Most leftover ornaments were broken or otherwise janky. We settled on a large blue snowflake. On the back, I wrote “2020. Yeah.”

Thanks to a combination of Pandemic Brain and Holiday Brain, I’d totally forgotten about this until we put up the tree this year. It felt about 17 years later but nope, it was just 2021. And when I looked at that inscription, I guffawed. What could possibly be a better response to the year that was? YEAH.

While I have been so foolhardy as to believe I could choose a word of the year at the beginning of January, this year of our Lord 2021 was a rare exception. I now realize that at least for the last two years, retrospective word choices have been much more fitting. And for 2021? The word of the year is WELP.

I mean, really. How else could you possibly describe 2021?

We were blessed to get vaccinated. We got to travel. We were scared. Shit hit the fan. We were exhausted. We were blessed to see family. Being around family might kill us or someone we love. Everything is OK. Everything is terrible.

No wonder I haven’t been writing much. What do you even say?


For 2022, a random word generator tells me that my word of the year is RESTORE. I can’t argue with it. My heart needs to rest, to heal, to scream therapeutically into a pillow. I am cautiously optimistic that 2022 can be a time to restore, repair, reset.

But if not?

I’m guessing the real word of the year will reveal itself in due time. Please JesusAllahBuddhaOprah, may the word of 2022 not be variant, mutation or mucus.

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  • Reply Ernie December 31, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    So great to see a post from you. Yesterday was my birthday, so this feels like a little birthday gift. Hooray.

    The comedian Jim Gaffigan compared 2021 to changing a diaper in the middle of the night and the instant one lays the baby back down, the diaper fills again. Exactly right. I think WELP fits perfectly. Let’s hope the word for 2022 is NORMAL. Fingers crossed.

    I laughed at the words you hope do not end up describing our upcoming year, and love your inclusion of Oprah as a higher being.

  • Reply Becky December 31, 2021 at 2:55 pm


  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) December 31, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    I concur.

    Also? It rhymes with HELP.

  • Reply Melissa January 2, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    Oh man, your description of the ornament hunt last year made me laugh. Perfect on many levels.
    Restore is a good word. The idea of a touchstone words seems smarter than resolutions, especially in a demanding world.
    Happy 2022–my wish for you is that the words and ideas come easily.

  • Reply Kari January 12, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    It’s good to see you writing again.
    I tried the word generator. I got cross, then hospitality. Gah.

    I hope you’re doing well.

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