Why CELEBRATE is my 2022 word

Happy New Year! I’m excited to kick off a new year. It may just be a calendar flipping, but for me it brings hope and optimism of a blank page to write a new chapter. This year I selected CELEBRATE as my word of the year. You might wonder why CELEBRATE is my 2022 word? Keep reading to understand and celebrate the good news!

Choosing a word of the year

For the past few years, I’ve focused on a word of the year rather than big resolutions. I like the reminder to be aware of the energies that I’m putting into goals, outcomes, activities, relationships and emotions throughout the year. For instance, when JOY was my word, it kept me grounded in choosing what brings me joy. Last year, CHOOSE served me well as I made choices to bring ease, joy, good health, adventures and love to my life.

I paused a few weeks ago to think about what I wanted to bring into the new year and also leave behind. It’s been a long two years treading through the COVID pandemic, societal unrest in the US (and world) and more. But I’ve been trying to refocus my energy and emotions to look beyond the negative and choose optimism and resilience. My grounding since my first cancer diagnosis has always been to return to the reminder that I am ALIVE. I’m blessed to be able to take another breath. When I paused I realized that 2022 will be 25 years since my life changed and I became much more aware that every breath is a beautiful gift that I do not take for granted. Ever.

Why CELEBRATE is my 2022 word

It’s stunning and pretty emotional to share that this spring will be 25 years since my first cancer diagnosis. You can imagine that being diagnosed at 21, three months shy of graduating from college and ‘starting adulthood’ was…well, there are really no good words to describe it, even for this writer. Life-altering is a mild way of putting it.

That osteosarcoma diagnosis changed the path of my adult life. And I never imagined that I would clear two more cancers, melanoma in my 20s and breast cancer almost three years ago. But I did. And here I am. Thank God. Gratitude and blessed barely scratch the surface of how I feel about the miracle of my body (and work of science). In those 25 years, I’ve endured chemo, radiation, surgeries, side effects, my dad’s death from cancer, my sister’s survivorship from cancer, divorce, job changes, love, loss, sadness, laughter, joy and so much more. All of these moments have influenced and written the chapters of my life.

Through the ups and downs, one thing stands out: I am ALIVE. And I’ll be here another 50+ because I’ve got more to do on this Earth.

When I did the math and realized how darn fortunate and blessed I am to be a 25-year cancer survivor, CELEBRATE popped right into my head as my word for 2022. Plus, it just sounds fun and joyful, doesn’t it?? And after the past three years of clearing my third cancer and wading through the COVID pandemic, I’m all about welcoming abundance of great health, joy, love, adventures, travel, finances and more. Care to join me?

So this is a year of CELEBRATION!

I could easily focus on the negative that’s occurred in my life. But that’s never been who I am. It brings me no joy in doing that. And I’m all about welcoming joy to my life! So this year I will be celebrating life, love, joy, all that I’ve endured and accomplished, all the people, experiences and moments that I’ve enjoyed, all that is yet to come. This energy will be the foundation of my year. And, friends, I am SO ready to celebrate!

I’m going to remind myself to celebrate my body – the strength, resilience and all that I CAN do. No more apologizing that a titanium rod in place of my femur makes me say no to certain activities or I have to use caution sometimes. I’m going to focus on the many activities and exercises that bring me joy. Because I am alive and able to walk on my own two legs.

But the celebration goes beyond clearing cancer (although that’s enough and more than deserving!). It’s about celebrating life, adventures, courage, people and all the possibilities. It’s about the work I’ve done to acknowledge lessons learned, the willingness to shed layers of myself that no longer serve me, dream big, find light even the darkest moments and throw my arms open to the world.

This year I’ll be celebrating the people who are willing to join me in finding the best versions of ourselves. Those willing and able to regularly welcome positivity, joy, laughter and love in their daily lives. To seek beauty in the simple things. And seek out those people who are ready to be honest, open, courageous, supportive, listeners and communicators. These are the people I want in my community.

Mostly, I choose to celebrate each breath and ME – the woman I was, the woman I am today and the woman I will blossom into. And that is how I am choosing to CELEBRATE life!

Today I choose to CELEBRATE. Will you join me?

Tips to choose your word of the year

  • Play around with it. What emotions or ideas come to mind when you think of your word?
  • Think about your personal and professional goals for the year. How can your word help you stay focused on these?
  • It’s not set in stone. You may notice another word keeps popping in the coming weeks that you feel stronger about. So change your word! Or have a companion word.
  • Make it prominent in your daily life. Keep your word visible so you don’t lose focus and ignore it. For example, tape a sign with your word on your bathroom mirror or somewhere you can see it every day to remind you of your goals.

Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to choose your word of the year (read my past blog post for more tips to choose your word). Your word is for you.

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