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There’s been a lot of talk about people’s “guiding word” of 2020. I’ve never really been a “guiding word” kind of person. Why should each year get a word? Can I choose the same word as I did last year? Just kidding, I didn’t choose one last year, nor any year before that. BUT – years change and over time, so do people. I doubt people ever use the same word twice because no one is quite the same at the end of a year as they were in the beginning. With any luck, we’ve evolved, and with no luck, we’re no better or worse but we have an extra year of experiences that shaped us in some way.

Despite my usual apathy towards the guiding word trend, I keep ruminating on the same word, so I’m calling it my word of 2020. It’s Service.


Service used to be a bigger part of who I was, but it has taken a back seat while I kept my head above water for the first nine years of parenthood. Selfishness is a survival skill when the kids are young and needy; now it’s a habit I need to break. It’s time to start giving back again. To me, Service means an act of kindness or helpfulness to another, however great or small. Truthfully, I’m looking to add small acts of service to my agenda so I can make an impact without disrupting my family life too much. That said, I won’t be hiding my acts of service from my children because I believe it’s important for them to see me serving others so that they might become good citizens of the world. I’m still in the early planning stages, but here are some concrete acts of service that I will complete in 2020:

– Give Blood

– Prepare a Meal for someone other than my family

– Donate Time to a Local Charity

– Donate Money to a Local Charity

– Create a Blog Post highlighting one or more local charities

– Look after someone else’s kids for an evening

– For my husband: Detail clean his car; iron his shirts

– Connect with someone new to the city 

– Take on a project with my children to help someone less fortunate (project to be determined)

They say that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. I’m not only writing them down but sharing them with you for accountability! I promise to let you know how I do.

The Other “S” Words

A few other “S” words came to mind as I started thinking about 2020: Seek, Sustain and Schedule. Seek is about seeking knowledge. Specifically, this will involve doing a better job keeping up with the news. After all, how will I know where my acts of service are most needed unless I’m informed? Sustain is a continuation of my journey towards sustainability. I’ve made small lifestyle changes like eco-friendly laundry detergent, zero waste shampoo bars, and purchasing consignment clothing. I’m still in the baby stages of sustainability but there will be more of these changes in 2020. Finally, Schedule: a boring word, but without it, my S Word is “Scattered.” When I worked full-time, I had no choice but to abide by a schedule. Now I do everything part-time and nothing well. It goes back to the old saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” 2020 is the year I’m reclaiming my “free” time by scheduling more of it.

So there you have it. I went from having zero words of the year to having several. Maybe next year, my S-word should be Succinct.