Two years ago, a column by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune caught my eye.
She encouraged her readers to choose a Word of the Year and use it as a watchword, a guide, a nudge. So in January 2015 I chose the word smile as a reminder to myself and, in part, as a tribute to my childhood Cubs favorite, Ernie Banks, who had passed away that month.
Last year the word was breathe, to foster everyday deep breathing and as a vital part of singing. (I don't think I was able to smile and breathe simultaneously until the Cubs won Game 7 of the World Series.)
In hopes that the International Rules of Word of the Year allow this, I have adopted two words for 2017. Last year on National Public Radio's "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" veteran TV producer Norman Lear was asked the secret to his successful and long life. His answer: "over and next." As in, that's over; it's time for the next thing.
Over and next give me the grace to know that what's done is done and to look ahead to what's to be. To not dwell on the successes and failures, yearning for the good ol' days or punishing myself for real or perceived mistakes and transgressions. The words work for pretty much all corners of life.
The rules provide for changing your word or words through the end of January. But I won't. I'm eager to see what's next.