Tuesday, December 29, 2020

One Little Word 2020: A Look Back and a Look Ahead

Can you believe today is the last Tuesday of 2020? I am thankful so many of you have already posted today with your one One Little Word reflections, because this time of year it's so hard to keep track of what day of the week it is (never mind the fact that this year in general has made that hard) and I nearly missed it. But it is indeed Tuesday, the last Tuesday of the month and of the year, so it's time to take a look back at my OLW.

2020 was my first year picking a word, and my word for the year was Savor. I very clearly remember sitting down with a journal on January first and recording my selection and my thoughts for the year ahead: We were in Florida, the sun was shining, and I was sitting out on the lanai with the journal I hoped to start writing in regularly. I couldn't have known where 2020 would take us, but I think I was remarkably prescient when I wrote this when I announced my word:

One thing this past year has shown me is that life is uncertain and unpredictable. I don't want to miss the beautiful things in my life because I'm so busy rushing from one thing to another -- rushing to finish that book, this project, that meal, and so on. I want to remind myself regularly to stop and enjoy the moment and to appreciate it to its fullest. Life isn't a race, and in fact we should actually all try to take as much time as we can to get to the end. It's about the journey, the experiences, and the people we meet along the way.

Looking back at my monthly OLW posts from the past year, I can see that I've largely succeeded in shifting my focus so that I could notice and appreciate the little things, to slow down and soak in the moment, and to emphasize the good. What I couldn't have predicted is how much this practice would lead to an overwhelming sense of gratitude and thankfulness. So much of what I've savored this year has been been directly related to the privilege I've had to be able to work from home when so many have lost work, to be with loved ones when so many have been isolated, to have the gifts of yarn and books and entertainment when so many are struggling to meet basic needs. Friends, I have never felt more blessed than I have this year. We have been healthy; we have not had any financial challenges; and aside from my brother and sister-in-law getting mild cases of COVID, we have not been personally touched by the pandemic. We have been so lucky in so many ways -- but we have also seen, more starkly than ever before -- how so many people have not. And I think these contrasts are going to influence my life and the way I live it a lot more going forward.

I am about 99.9% sure of my word for next year, but I am going to wait until the calendar flips over to share (just in case I have some sort of revelation in the next few days). I want to thank Honoré for hosting us for our monthly link up this past year and Carolyn for stepping up to host for 2021. I'm sure I am not alone when I say that I hope the new year holds OLW lessons that are a lot less dramatic for us!

I will be back tomorrow with a wrap-up of my reading for 2020 and on Thursday for a wrap-up of the year in crafting. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. "What I couldn't have predicted is how much this practice would lead to an overwhelming sense of gratitude and thankfulness." I think that's one of the things I appreciate most about choosing a Word. Regardless of what the word is, it elevates my awareness. I notice and experience so much more because of the practice. And it leads to gifts--like yours, of gratitude + thankfulness. I've enjoyed reading your check-ins this year, Sarah!

    1. It's been an especially interesting year for me to see how we've taken the same word in different directions and yet had some of the same realizations in the end!

  2. We never know quite where a word will lead us, but you have certainly savored! I especially like your gratitude; it is a very good reminder to me. I certainly have complaints about this year, but I have not lost a close family member, nobody in our immediate family has been sick, and we haven't suffered any overwhelming financial woes. Thank you and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all of us in 2021!

  3. I love your thoughts on the start of 2020... boy, were they prophetic! I too have so enjoyed your monthly updates and I look forward to your 2021 journey!

  4. Oh Sarah, what a beautiful post. I am convinced that these "little" words are powerful and the lessons they teach us (when we let them) are invaluable. Looking forward to another year of growth!

  5. The world would be a better place if more of us could do what you did this year: savor our lives exactly as they are. Thank you for this powerful post! I can't wait to see what your 2021 word is and to follow along with you :)