2024's Word of the Year Is . . .

Dec 31, 2023 by Amber McClain Shaw, in Blog Posts

Yes was my Word of 2023. It was challenging and mostly fantastic. I made an effort to say yes to every question or opportunity. Saying yes brought me some memorable experiences, and a few duds. Travel adventures and work opportunities happened because I said yes. One extremely awkward cringy situation happened because I said yes. When I said Yes, I sometimes failed to notice red flags, or use my intuition. I failed to protect my soft center, and that is not adventurous, it's reckless.

I’m running out of Yeses. The month of December seems to have been a transition month. I’ve noticed that I have answered nearly every question with “I don’t know.” I don’t know a lot of things. So many things. I don’t know what flight I’m booking, or if I can come to dinner. I don’t know why the dishwasher is leaking or the car broke down. I don’t know why I’m not sleeping. I don’t know why the polenta was too runny or which exercise caused me to be so sore I had to crawl up the stairs. I don’t know why my dog loves my parents more than she loves me. I don’t know why my sister’s Christmas presents were stolen out of the car in her garage. I don’t know why a once-close friend has ghosted me. I don’t know what’s for dinner. I do not happen to know where the scissors are. I don't know why people are asking me so many questions.

So many of these things are not knowable, or not worth me pursuing the knowing. Or maybe I am just tired from this last year of saying Yes. 

And so, I transition to the 2024 Year of No. 

I don’t think this will be as negative as it seems. At least I hope not (this statement may indicate that this will not be so easy for me). My family knows the year of No is imminent. They think it’s funny, and this gives me hope that there will be some humor in it. Saying No will allow me to protect my energy and time, my focus, and to honor my priorities. No will help me to set some boundaries, which I’m not particularly skilled at doing. No, I’m not going to ignore red flags. No, I’m not going to take on projects that aren’t fulfilling. No, I am not opposed to a tattoo if I find one I want. No, I’m not going to worry so much about things I can’t control. No, I am not doing some things right, and I’m willing to learn. No, I am not afraid of the truth. No, I’m not taking on any new friends without three references and a note from a therapist.

No, I'm not sure this is going to work. But it might be liberating. I'll find out! Until then, yes I would love another glass of champagne.