Word of the Year 2022

Happy New Year!

It’s that time again when we dust off all of our failed resolutions from years past, shake off the disappointment, and give them another go. For the past five years I have gone against the grain and instead of coming up with a list of things that I will not accomplish, I have instead, chosen a word that will be my focus for the upcoming year. (Apparently, this is a whole thing now online. It has a hash-tag and everything – #OneWord2022. I like to think that I was a trendsetter with this one.)

For the most part, this idea of one word to rule them all for the coming year has been a fun exercise. It has given me a way to focus my energy and drive my priorities. At the very least, it’s a way to plan for the year in January and a framework for reflecting on the year in December. I think I have been fairly creative in my word choices over the past five years. I have tried not to be too generic with words like Love, Believe, or Hope. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good words. But none of them have the teeth I needed to be inspired for a whole year. So, what have been my words for the past five years. Well, since you asked…here is the list (if I blogged about it, I was even so kind as to give you the link.)

Past Words of the Year

  • 2016 – Nourish
  • 2017 – Transform
  • 2018 – Boundaries
  • 2019 – Reach
  • 2020 – Less – I thought this was a great word at the time. Hindsight, am I right?
  • 2021 – Restore

It has been fun to pick the words. I was super proud of 2020. It was going to be the year of “Less but Better”. All I can say is the Universe is full of irony. I was smarter in 2021 and chose Restore so I could focus on bringing back some of the good things. Yesterday I took some time to reflect on the positives from 2021. There were quite a few and I do feel I restored some important things. So, what to choose for 2022?

The Right Word for 2022

Finding the right word is hard. I really thought about it and was about to give up all together. This was going to be the year with no word. Just a year. Then I listened to a podcast from one of my favorite thinkers, Greg McKeown. In fact, his book Essentialism is what inspired the Year of Less. I was listening to one of his recent podcasts, episode 83 to be exact, while working on a project and thinking about why choosing a word was so hard. The episode dove into the first chapter of his new book and asked “What if this could be easy?” Seriously, I stopped what I was doing and repeated that out loud. “What if this could be easy?” The past two years have been really hard. What if it could be easy? That is when my word for 2022 hit me right in the face. Easy. This year will be the year of Easy! It all made perfect sense. Look at the definition below.

eas·y/ˈēzē/adjective

  1. achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.
  2. (of a period of time or way of life) free from worries or problems.

Don’t both of those sound amazing? I want to achieve without great effort AND have a period of time that is free from worries or problems. I wish that for all of us!

So, how do I plan to approach the Year of Easy? After kicking the word around in my head a bit and completely overthinking it, here are my three Easy Goals.

Be Easy – Don’t Over Complicate

I know that living Easy is not going to be…well, easy. It feels like today’s society believes that things of value or quality are hard. (That might explain some of my underlying issues with Impostor Syndrome if you think about it.) And, if you take the easy way out you are lazy or what you do is low quality. I don’t think that’s true. For example, over the past year I’ve been learning how to crochet. I have seen that even the easy stiches can create beautiful things. So, the year of easy is not about quick fixes and low quality. It is about simple solutions and less complicated actions. I am going to look for the easiest way to get the best result and stop over complicating (and over thinking) everything.

Go Easy – Don’t be a Jerk

Also, as I said before, the past two years have been hard. For all of us. And we, my friends, have been kind of hard on each other. I mean really, some of us have been complete jerks to each other. It is time for us to stop and go easy on each other instead. Show some compassion, some grace, some empathy. We all deserve it. I mean, come on, even Adele gets it.

If you go easy on me, I’ll go easy on you. Haven’t we all been through enough?

Take it Easy – Slow Down, Partner

It’s ok to slow down.

The Year of Easy will also be about slowing down and enjoying life. I will continue to nurture those restored habits of creative pursuits, finding joy and being connected. We can’t do that if we’re rushing through life. So, take it easy. Slow it down. Enjoy the ride a bit more.

There you have it, everyone. My 2022 word of the year and more explanation than you ever asked for. My wish for you is that you all have an easy, yet amazing year. You have all earned it.

21 Positives from 2021

I don’t know about you but 2021 was another rough year in what I hope is not a string of rough years. We, as the collective human race, have had to deals with some…stuff. Yes, we had some big challenges, but we had some big wins too. It can be difficult to see the wins when we are constantly bombarded by the negative messaging that reminds us about how hard and terrible things are right now. Yes, things are hard. Yes, there are some terrible things out there. However, there is good too. I want to take time during my traditional year end reflection to do a good old list post of some of the positive things that happened over the past 365 days.

But First…

Ok, before you you start down the “toxic positivity” path – yes, I know that we cannot ignore the things that are terrible. In order to fix them, we need to see them, discuss them and take action. Also – yes, I know that it is ok to not be ok. I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just saying that you can’t ALWAYS focus on the negative and difficult things. That makes you no fun. And, if you know me or follow me at all, you know that I LITERALLY see the world through rose colored glasses (actually hot pink glasses but I’m not here to be picky). So, I tend to skew to the positive and its my blog so I can write about whatever I want.

The Year of Restore

Before I get to my list of 21 positive things from 2021, a little background. 2021 was the Year of Restore. That was my word of the year. Restore. You can read about the goals I set for myself in this post here. The Tl;Dr version is – I wanted 2021 to be the year I restored some good things in my life, creativity, balance, health, etc. Well, as expected, I was successful on some and not others. So, this list of positives includes a few of my successful restores.

21 Positives from 2021

Now it is time for the list. Drum roll please… wait, one more disclaimer. There were so many good things that happened this year that my list is not all inclusive. Obvs. I am not going to talk about Covid vaccines or some of the other big things related to the crappy things because enough people are already talking about that. Go read their stuff. This is my list of things that have given me a positive vibes for 2021. Ok, now, I need a drum roll please…

Personal Positives – My own personal wins

  1. I made a bunch of things! I wanted to restore create pursuits this year and I did. I learned how to crochet and made a bunch of cool things. More on that in a future post.
  2. My family celebrated some great milestones. From our 27th wedding anniversary, to milestone birthdays and new births. There were some awesome celebrations.
  3. The kids (they are young adults in college) had academic wins this year. Way to go kiddos! Mom and Dad are proud of all your hard work.
  4. I hugged people I have not seen in years and in some cases decades. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to hug people again. Even some I had not seen in almost 30 years. It was amazing to talk to people in person instead of on Facebook or Twitter.
  5. The husband and I took an actual vacation. Just the two of us. It was to Iowa, but it was still wonderful to escape and explore together.
  6. I went to festivals, heard live music and saw art again. The extrovert in me was so happy to be surrounded by creative people and their creations again.
  7. I played. My gnome warlock and I got a workout this year. It was great to play and go on adventures. In other words, I took time out for fun. Yay me!

Professional Positives – Big wins on the professional side

  1. This year my team and I did STEAM programming for over 1000 kids! From virtual summer camps to in-person STEAM workshops, our programs were back and we were loving it!
  2. Our Artificial Intelligence Summer Camp team won and Impact Argonne Award for Extraordinary Effort. So proud of the amazing team and our campers. Read more here.
  3. Our team received funding to start a STEAM afterschool club for local middle school students. We kick it off in January and I am so excited about what these kids will do!!
  4. Became part of a state-wide effort centered on Career and Technical Education. This will also have a huge positive impact on our Illinois students as well as business and industry. Here is a bit more about that project. Again – so excited!
  5. STEM Fest!!!!!! For the 12th year in a row, NIU STEAM held STEM Fest. After a virtual event in 2020, STEM Fest was back, in-person, and in the heart of campus. I am so proud of the team for making it a huge success!! Want to know what goes into planning an event like that – read this. Learn more about STEM Fest 2021 in this article.
  6. My team and I had a chance to regroup and refocus on our Why. I am looking forward to what we will do in the new year.
  7. I feel I have grown as a leader. Through successes and challenges, I am a different leader than I was 12 months ago. I have learned a lot and will continue to learn through the adventures to come.

Planetary Positives – Good things from planet Earth and beyond

  1. The Mars Rover, Perseverance, and it’s little buddy Ingenuity landed on Mars February 18, 2021 and have been up to some amazing things!
  2. Wired Magazine reported that cheese in not actually bad for you! Yes, the article sites a 2018 study but they published it in 2021 so I count it as a 2021 win.
  3. Medical Science continues to explore and test treatments for ALS. (That one is for you Larry! Miss you.)
  4. Scientists wirelessly connected a brain to a computer. Yay… I think.
  5. The James Webb Telescope successfully launched on December 25, 2021.
  6. Vertical farming, farm to food pantry initiatives, and urban farming continue to grow to address hunger and food scarcity.
  7. Despite what the news might say, many people came together and found innovative ways to connect with each other, help, support and learn from each other. Many of us learned something from strangers on TikTok or YouTube. We reconnected with family, friends and colleagues though hybrid events, in-person gatherings or virtual game nights. We collectively chose to focus on what was import in our lives and found good in things. Way to go humans!

Goodbye 2021

My big goal for 2021.

So, there are the 21 things that have given me positive vibes for the past year. I asked this question on Facebook and Twitter and have received some great stories of personal positives from 2021. Based on that, I would say the Year of Restore positively had some successes. I did not meet all of my goals but I met some of them. The ones I didn’t meet, my friends family and the human race met them for me. So, goodbye 2021. I think we were able to meet the biggest goal I had for 2021. It sucked less than the year before.

As we approach 2022. I wish you all health, joy, humor, creativity, connections, and balance. As well as the strength and support you need to overcome any of the challenges you may face.

Happy New Year, from HotPinkTech!