1 word 4 2010

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

When someone gets it at last, we exclaim, “FI-nally!” When we’re making our closing point, wrapping things up, the word takes on a crispness, like the snapping of a sheet: “Finally…” And, when you’re dragging yourself over the finish line, legs like weights and chest heaving, the word is a relief: “Finally.”

In 2006, my husband and I moved, with two alley cats, to Florida to take care of my mother and brother. An unbelievably brief five months later, my mother died. (Five months. I can count it on one hand. It’s not enough. It’s never enough. As Mary Oliver wrote, “Doesn’t everything die, at last, and too soon?”) As we tried to put together the pieces of our lives, my husband and I, with the best of intentions, fell prey to the trepidation of doing the wrong thing, not just for me, but for my brother, who was only ten at the time. Let's just go already! (detail from my art journal)So, we didn’t make a lot of big changes and stayed in place for the next few years, only acknowledging this summer how very unfulfilling that place was, how we weren’t living our values and how the resulting unhappiness could be just as traumatic for my brother as picking up and moving.

So, finally, in 2010, we did just that. Me, the husband, the kid. One less alley cat, but two stray cats all the same, and two dogs. 900-plus miles. Every one of them a weight lifting off me, a fear I was letting go of: What would we do with the house? Would my brother handle the transition, leaving the only home he’s ever known? Could we afford it? Every state line a hurdle we leapt, moving forward and improving all our lives in the process.

As we unpacked boxes in our new home this September, I watched the leaves in our neighborhood begin to change: a passionate, but brief, display of color, before they and a wealth of acorns began to litter the ground. When we drove to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, flurries of snow descended and gave the landscape a new look. All around, things changing. Another reminder of the contrasts of living here and living in Florida. Maybe if we hadn’t made that leap, my word for the year would have been stagnant, like so much swampwater. Part of me wants to take that back, to say it wasn’t that bad. And I can acknowledge good things that happened while we lived in Florida, moments of sunshine, friendships. But now I can also say: It wasn’t enough. I needed more.

Which makes me think maybe 2011 should be the year of MORE. Not just how can I get more, but how can I give more, do more, be more? Because the poet had it right, everything does die too soon.

Reverb 10 is an opportunity to reflect on this year past and manifest forward into 2011. This project involves daily prompts throughout the month of December and you can learn more about it—and join!—here and you can follow participants on Twitter using the #reverb10 hashtag.

Thanks for reading!

Published in quotes, reverb10, true life stories on Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tags:  , , , , ,


  1. Monday, December 6, 2010, at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Love reading through these Reverb entries. What a smart way to end one year and begin another!

  2. Friday, December 10, 2010, at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I’ve really enjoyed it so far, Suzanne. Also, you’re my 100th comment! /me throws a tickertape parade

I Welcome Your Comments!

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>