OLW – 2020 reflection

I started picking a OLW (AKA one little word) back in 2015 and each chosen word has served me well.
2015 – Responsiveness
2016 – Transparency
2017 – Routine
2018 – Active
2019 – Confident
2020 – Here / Hear

I wrote HERE about my 2020 word as I reflected on my 2019 word and now realized I never wrote about it again. I guess I was distracted by a few other things during 2020. Today I decided I would write about my 2020 OLW. I also think my 2021 OLW has found me. I’ll reveal it at the end!

What a difference a year makes. During 2019, I chose confident as my OLW and as I reflected on it on Dec. 31, 2019, I named many proud accomplishes I made confidently related to both my professional and personal life. I then ended the blog post naming here/hear as my 2020 OLW. I found it clever to choose a homophone:
HEAR….verb….to listen with my ears and maybe hear with my eyes, too, to notice more and maybe hear with my heart, too, in order to feel more for others.
HERE….noun…this place, this world, this life, this present….to live in the here and now.

In 2019, I felt so often that technology and social media removed our physical presence. We text. We email. We communicate. But no physical gathering occured. As I began 2020, I decided to make a point to not just type Happy Birthday and an emoji when facebook sent me an alert. My OLW would remind me to call the birthday person and invite them over or agree to meet up on a Saturday for an in-person lunch. Then once together, in the here and now, I’d listen, notice and hear them.

A push for this OLW was to specifically take time to see old friends again. Sadly, last December, a high school classmate suddenly died. I couldn’t attend her funeral in Texas so a few local friends gathered in her memory. We sat and prayed the rosary. Then we shared old stories and laughed together. As I drove home that day, I thought about how silly it is to wait to see old friends at a funeral. Instead, in the the here and now, I wanted to make time to gather and connect in person.

Then just three months into 2020, the here and now changed. Suddenly, it became no longer safe to physically gather in person. Thanks to technologies like zoom and google meets and social media like instagram and twitter, I began to safely connect with family and friends across screens. Suddenly h-e-r-e here tranformed to keep us all safe and well.

As I continued to adjust to the new 2020 normal, I do think I got a little better at using my ears to h-e-a-r hear. As my husband and I both began to work from home, we naturally started spenting more time sharing, discussing and wondering together. Back in 2019, by the time we both got home from working all day long, we didn’t feet like talking about our daily work particulars so we didn’t share much. Now, suddenly, as we eat all our meals together, we chat about our online work. And I find myself trying to listen well, with my ears, my eyes and my heart, too.

With just days away from the beginning of a new year, 2021, I’ve been thinking about my next OLW. As I reread my 2019 OLW reflection, I noticed a few things. In 2019, I read lots. I wrote lots. I traveled lots. I shared lots through presentations and blog posts. And it felt like a good year!

As I look more closely, I notice that when I have a structure in place, I do the things I love. For example, this TwoWritingTeacher Tuesdays and March Slice of Life structure keeps me writing. Recently, 2 friends suggested we write on Monday afternoons using Google Meets. This structured calendar invite ensures a regular day and time to keep us meeting and writing. I set a reading goal at my daughter’s suggesting using the Goodread app. This structure counts the books I read and charts it with my personal reading goal in mond. The Call for Proposal structure nudges me to apply to make presentations to share with others. So many structures catapult me toward the things I love to do.

I am picking STRUCTURE as my 2021 OLW. As I reflect on my personal goals for this upcoming year, I will ensure I have a structure in place to support me. I’m feeling it is the perfect word for me to add to this sixth year of choosing a ONE LITTLE WORD.
2015 – Responsiveness
2016 – Transparency
2017 – Routine
2018 – Active
2019 – Confident
2020 – Here / Hear
2021 – Structure

How was your 2020 OLW?
What’s your 2021 OLW going to be?

7 thoughts on “OLW – 2020 reflection

  1. mgminer says:

    Structure is a strong, positive word! And a perfect word for the influence of your favorite architect! As always, you inspire me to consider a OLW for 2021. Your structures also give support and safety to others. Here’s to you, Sally!


  2. margaretsmn says:

    Hi Sally,
    This is one of the first reflections on the OLW I’ve read this year. I like the structure (wink) of it. Structure is something that I try to build into my every day, but I find I am most creative without structure. So my hope for you is that you do not give in to structure at the cost of creativity. Our words do seem to find us each year. My word for 2020 is embrace, and boy did I have some stuff to embrace! Thanks for sharing your ideas and inspiring me to write a similar post.


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      I like your word. Like mine, physical embraces couldn’t happen as much in 2020 but I am glad it helped you embrace on other levels. I also appreciate your caution with my 2021 word. I definitely want to keep creativity flowing. Great advise! Have a safe and relaxing winter break!!


  3. Ms Victor Reads says:

    Your reflection gives me pause- I am not sure I lived up to my OLW, but you have encouraged me to reflect on it. My list of potential words for 2021 grew today… as a procrastinator I wait until January 1 to decide. Structure has lots of scope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Terje says:

    Reading your reflection made me realize how close the new year is. How wonderful that you already know your new OLW. It’s going to be interesting to read how the new OLWs make their first appearances. You may be the first to share and there are many ones to follow.


  5. Christine says:

    I just began thinking about my OLW this morning, so it was great to read your post with your word in place. I still have some thinking to do but you gave me some good starting ideas! And yes, I too do better with structure.


  6. cmargocs says:

    I like that word, “structure”. It lends stability to a year which is entering on wobbly legs, to be sure. You have written a wonderful reflection on your OLWs, and have inspired me to be more thoughtful about mine. My 2020 OLW is “Results”–taking time to reflect on the results of my planning, and not just the plans themselves.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s