I recently had the good fortune of watching a 2019 episode of Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” in which she interviewed philanthropist Melinda Gates.
This episode in particular was a bit of an “a-ha”, validating moment for me when Ms. Gates explained that instead of choosing a New Year’s resolution, Ms. Gates prefers to choose a word of the year to guide her actions.
This CNBC article explains:
The wow moment for me was that I had already been doing that for years!
When trying to slay the dragons of perfectionism, “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “let it go” figured prominently as my words/expressions of the year.
Regular readers might remember blog posts from 2017 and 2018 in which “inner peace” was my intention, to try to gain the upper hand over anxiety.
“Boundaries” quickly followed in that quest, upon realizing that no matter how much I wanted to please people, I could not be in multiple places at once nor could I clone myself to produce my best work on conflicting urgent priorities.
“Negotiation” became the companion word that year to remind myself that I had the tact and diplomacy skills to try to find solutions to impossible situations.
During the pandemic, the word “balance” tried to sneak in as my word of the year. However, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that balance is incredibly difficult to attain and maintain. Balance is a constant give and take between things we can control and things we cannot, in a dynamic that is ever changing.
This led to my adoption of the question “what is the true priority?” to help triage daily demands.
When I retired, I had to repeat to myself “pace yourself” daily in the rush to try to complete so many tasks that had been relegated to the backburner, due to pandemic disruptions while still putting in very full days at work.
But I guess I must have turned the corner in my word choices.
I recently watched a 2014 interview featuring author Elizabeth Gilbert (posted on YouTube by the Nashville Public Library) in which she discusses her novel “The Signature of All Things”. In the moments before reading an excerpt, she referred to a part of her creative process as “the joy, delight and freedom of (writing) fiction.”
Her words resonated with me with a force that could be measured on the Richter scale. Over the course of my first year of actively writing fiction I frequently experienced those same feelings.
I think it would be safe to say that “joy” and “freedom” are words and concepts that get referenced fairly regularly in our vocabulary.
But the “delight” part felt familiar yet distant at the same time. I can’t say that the word gets nearly enough usage… maybe it can make a comeback!
And truly, if there is something we can all benefit from these days, isn’t it more delight in our every day?
Now I don’t mean delight in the euphemistic sense of the 1976 song by the Starland Vocal Band. I admit that at the young age of 11, the song’s meaning went way over my head, as it probably should have.
What I mean is delight in the sense of serendipitous joy. Even just the sound of the word “delight” has sunny tones to it, doesn’t it?
After the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and barrage of head-spinning political news, don’t we all need a little more delight in our lives?
What a wondrous place it would be if our day-to-day encounters were filled with delight rather than the dumpster fire of negative bias that seems to linger throughout society and media.
Just using the word delight seems to amp up the pleasure factor for any given situation.
Why can’t we take a moment to express our delight with business transactions that went well, rather than making a point to send a nasty review, to express disappointment and regret?
The sad part is that with the degree of negativity swirling around our world these days, delight seems to be a bit of a novelty.
Why can’t we make it our resolution for 2023 (or any year for that matter) to make a delight our goal rather than just another word in the dictionary?
And to those who keep seeing the world for all of its problems, I would like to ask, what are your solutions for making it a more delightful world?
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Have a great day,