When I was a small child, I fell in love with words. An avid reader, I would max out my library card and struggle to get the books home on my bike. Subsequently, writing came naturally to me. While my childhood dreams of being a novelist never materialized, I receive great pleasure from crafting words into compelling content in the form of articles and social media posts, communications and speeches. Believe it or not, I relish cracking open my hardback thesaurus for inspiration.
As a true word nerd, each December I look forward to the major dictionaries announcing the word of the year. For Merriam-Webster, the winning word of 2021 was vaccine. Who would have thought a singular word that has been around for centuries could become so politicized and polarizing? A recent New York Time’s headline summed up the pandemic well: Disruption, Dismay, Dissent: Americans Grapple With Omicron. (Did I mention that I have an affinity for alliteration?)
For me, the American Dialect Society’s word choice was not much better. The group named insurrection as its winner. Does that word make anyone else cringe? Dictionary.com embraced a more positive word as its word of the year: allyship. As a big supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), it is my favorite choice of the three.
Reviewing the 2021 words of the year got me thinking. Instead of waiting for the events of the year to unfold, what if we start 2022 by naming a word that we want the year to embody? Knowing that one is more likely to achieve a goal if it is written down, I would like to put my word out into the universe. My word for 2022 is grace.
This single syllable word has many meanings. Grace is a royal title to address a duke or duchess as well as a short prayer said before a meal. In Greek mythology, Graces are the name of the trio of goddess of charm, beauty and creativity. However, the Merriam-Webster definition that I hope the world will embrace in 2022 is “the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful” as well as a “disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.”
After enduring far too many viral Karen videos, deplorable behavior by politicians, and appalling acts of racism, imagine how much better 2022 will be if each of us routinely acts with grace. Maybe we can all work together to start a trend, #yearofgrace.