The WOTY That Wasn’t

Sorting Out My WOTY

As I was writing my last post, and boldly declaring that I did not have a WOTY for the new year, a word, quietly slipped into my head. It was an unexpected word, and I have to admit that I considered it for a long while. The word that presented itself was unfold. It sounded floaty and gentle, like a sail on a boat catching a light breeze. Carefree. I really wanted to embrace a carefree attitude and let life lead me for a while.

“You must let life flow naturally, for life’s secret is patience; you must stop pushing for change and allow things to unfold.” Leon Brown

That quote sounds a little ‘preachy’, but that aside, the word just doesn’t feel right to me. So, as much as I want to embrace unfold, I just can’t. I am happiest when I have plans to look forward to and everyday life is organized. I accept that I can’t really control anything but leaving everything to chance just sounds like chaos to me. At least, that is how the word unfolded in my brain. Likewise, an overly scripted life creates pressure – too many ‘have to’, ‘shoulds’, and ‘you musts’ provoke my rebellious nature and I end up sabotaging myself out of spite. Can you relate?

All that pondering brought another word to mind – pace. That one sounds more like me. I don’t mind following, and I can lead when I need to, but mostly, I just like to maintain a gentle pace; steady, solid, aware of my surroundings, but not persuaded to break my rhythm until I decide it’s time. That word also promotes personal growth as patience, mindfulness, and strategy are all required to achieve a steady pace. It is a good word if you have a specific goal in mind. I don’t.

“You don’t need to rush because you see people moving fast. It’s your journey, live it at your own pace”.

Discipline is a good word that comes to mind, but I blew that one with my failed attempt at ‘Dry January.’ Enough said.

Light is a ‘hopeful’ word, and I like it for a lot of reasons. ‘Be the light…explore the light…share the light…” It sounds encouraging and hopeful. One can find tons of famous inspirational quotes about light on the internet. A lot of them refer to the flip side of the coin – darkness. Finding the light often requires exploring the darkness. I am not opposed to looking into the dark corners of my life, but I don’t want to make that my primary focus for the year. Like a good photograph, I feel like I have the right amount of light and shadow to make up a good composition. It just needs a little tweaking.

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Prompt – Light

All this chatter in my brain has brought me to my favorite word – balance. Balance has always been my default WOTY, even when I don’t acknowledge it as such. I know what I need in my life to grow, feel confident, be happy, maintain hope, and feel satisfied. I mindfully practice those things most days. Not every day is ‘the best day of the year’, but I wake up with the expectation that it could be.

“Write it on Your Heart that every day is the Best Day of the Year”….Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Last year we dealt with a lot of change, and I needed to quiet the busyness of my mind and feel settled, so I chose more as my WOTY. The literal meaning of the word sounds like a contradiction to my intent, but, my goal was to achieve more inner peace. The word served me well, as I got back to the basic tenants of my happy life which are all-encompassed within mind, body, and spirit.

WOTY’s are great, and choosing one is a good way to focus on achieving change. But, the word itself can’t help unless you take the time to identify what is unsatisfying about your life. Before you choose a word, determine specifically what you hope to achieve. How will fixing your focus on the word help you move forward? What steps will you need to take? Once you have settled on a word, set realistic goals and create a plan to achieve small steps toward your goals. Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint, and races are won by those who pace themselves, create balance and find the light within!

What’s On My Calendar

Besides all the brain activity of sorting out my WOTY, I had a fairly routine month. It was nice to get back to my usual schedule of tennis, gym, pickleball, mahjongg, reading, and cooking healthy meals.

Quite Time

We made a few trips out to the beach to watch the waves. January was particularly windy, and the ocean responded accordingly. My camera and lenses suffered, but my skin felt great after being pelted with sea air and salt water. We shared the space (but not our snacks) with a few friends who came to visit.

Getting Things Done

We spent a morning (with two paid helpers) shifting the contents of our storage unit into a smaller space. Giving away my treadmill and rowing machine made that possible. Cutting the cost of storage has been a goal since we moved into the apartment so it feels nice to have that accomplished.


I only read one book this month. Shameful, I know, but I simply haven’t been in the mood to read anything beyond the length of a blog post for a while. Anyway, the book, The Nurse’s Secret is our community book club selection for this month. It is an easily guessed mystery set in New York during the 1880s. If you like historical fiction, go for it. Most of the Good Read reviews are positive and recommend the book, as do I. It unfolds a bit slowly, but I enjoyed learning a bit about America’s first nursing school and the trials of living on the streets during the gilded age.


I am a subscriber to Amazon Prime, and to substitute for the books I haven’t read this month, I have managed to find a few nice surprises among their choices for films. ‘This Beautiful Fantastic’ is one of those. It is a sweet, sappy, heartwarming story that will leave you needing a tissue, but is well worth the tear. If you like gardening, budding romance, struggling writers, and off-beat characters, you will love this film.

Friends and Family

A couple of friends asked us to try a new place for lunch with them, (Taylor Beachhouse Cafe) and we accepted the invitation even though this is our month to cut calories. We had a great time sitting outside on a cool, sunny day, (there were a lot of those in January) catching up on their lives and enjoying a delicious plate of food. Making healthy choices is sooooo hard when eating out. Does not having dessert count?

I played Mahjong a few times with my two groups. Monday is the new group, and Friday is the old group. The old group is getting bumped a lot these days for tennis team practice sessions. I need to tend that situation a bit. Out of sight….and all that.

We unceremoniously celebrated Malcolm’s 67th birthday this month. One of his coffee buddies took him to breakfast, then he spent the afternoon answering calls and texts from friends and family. He was surprised at the special attention. Later, he and I went for a casual dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant. In Malcolm’s estimation, it was one of the best birthdays ever. That is high praise considering we spent his birthday at the Montage in Palmetto Bluff last year. I love that he is low-key like that. Valuing conversations with friends over pomp and circumstance always makes me smile.

Malcolm visited his mom several times this month, completing a few home maintenance items for her, and resupplying her with provisions. We didn’t see the kids at all during January which made me a little sad. There was a valid reason – Covid. First him, then her. We talked a lot on the phone and will catch up with a FTF visit next month.

Moving My Body

A lot of my outdoor activities were either canceled or rescheduled because of the weather, but enough happened to keep me satisfied in the physical activity category. As I write this, I am sitting in wait for a start time for my scheduled team tennis match. It has been pushed from 11:30 to 1:00 and if what I see on the weather radar actually happens, we will be rescheduling for another day. I am busying my time by finishing this blog post. Eventually, I will be off to the gym as that is my backup plan for the afternoon. Maybe my word should be Flexiblity?

With or without a WOTY I am making plans and looking forward to the new year. May it unfold joyfully….


Congratulations to the newly overhauled share opportunity sponsored by Deb, Sue, Jo and Donna at What’s Been On Your Calendar? This link-up invites bloggers to share their monthly wrap-up and WOTY progress. It replaced the WOTY wrap-up hosted by the same group last year.

I have always enjoyed writing a monthly wrap-up post as it helps me reflect on the things I did right and it highlights where I might have gone off the rails with regard to my goals for the new year. I applaud their new, broader direction and look forward to participating. As usual, my monthly wrap-up will be posted on the last Sunday of each month.

Also sharing with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share and Sunday Stills – Seeking Light

57 thoughts on “The WOTY That Wasn’t

    1. Hi Judy, no doubt you saw the film. It expresses the soul of a gardener beautifully and I am sure you can relate. Most days I think I have my life figured out, but there are some that leave me scratching my head for answers. Thanks for the visit.


  1. Hi Suzanne – I could completely relate to your WOTY dilemma and the many choices with none feeling quite right. I changed mine at the last moment and thought I’d use it next year, but then changed that idea to another word (one of those you’ve mentioned) but will probably change it yet again (and maybe again?) as the year progresses. Great catching up on all your news and I hope you get to spend some time with your “kids” in the weeks ahead – we won’t see ours in February, so I know what it’s like to miss them – thank goodness for video chats!


    1. Hi Leanne, it feels odd that I couldn’t find a good fit for a word this year. Even so, I do still have goals and things I want to accomplish, so there’s that. Hopefully, I won’t go completely astray! I am missing my kids. We are used to seeing them at least once a month, so January was strange in that respect. Hopefully, we will all find time in February for a visit. Take care and thanks for the chat!


  2. Suzanne, it looks as though your year is off to a wonderful, balanced beginning—even without settling on your word for the year. Like you, I appreciate some structure in life, but I rebel against rigidity. I always enjoy your monthly reflective wrap-up posts and find them inspiring. As far as my theme for the year, it is definitely “Simplify, simplify, simplify…” (my mantra as I finish packing up the house, LOL).


  3. I was interested to read all your thought processes while settling on your WOTY. I think it highlighted for me the reason I’ve not (yet) felt the need to have one. For me there isn’t a clear line to be drawn between last year and this year, and what I would look for in a word could change from month to month or even week to week!


  4. As I read your post, I was thinking you’d end up with “carefree” as your WOTY for 2023. Your head has been busy. When I think about a focus, a word, or a goal, I often end up with “balance” as well. Probably because I haven’t found it yet.

    You had a nice month – relaxation, exercise, and social times. A great balance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Suzanne – Thank you for joining us for our first (or rather, newly revised) What’s Been On Your Calendar. And thank you for the shoutout. It is greatly appreciated.
    Your process for considering a WOTY felt very real to me. It was also a great reminder that a single word is not always the right fit for us (this year, I have three that work as a team). With or without a WOTY, your January sounds wonderfully balanced. May your 2023 continue to unfold with peace and joy and begin a chain full of awareness leading to your full authentic self. You definitely have the discipline and the wisdom for all of the above. (It was a bit of a challenge fitting in all of your potential WOTYs into a short comment – but the sentiment behind them is very sincere). Happy belated birthday to Malcolm!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna, thanks for the bold attempt to include all my word choices in a sincere and thoughtful statement. You have done a credible job of delivering a kind and compassionate message. This is fun, we could play this game all day long!

      Thanks again for hosting this new version of WOTY update/ end-of-month wrap-up. I wish you much success.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I enjoyed reading this post Suzanne, lots of good words to think about. I seem to keep reading just samples of books I have downloaded and don’t get any further. My husband sounds a lot like Malcolm, enjoying low key affairs. The book you mentioned sounds interesting.


    1. Hi Alison, I did toss out quite a few words, didn’t I? Funny that none of them seem to sit with me, but it was a good exercise. Malcolm would rather have a good conversation with a friend than dinner at a 5star restaurant. Truth! I wouldn’t have picked The Nurses Secret for myself, but since it was a book club selection I thought I’d give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed. Thanks for the visit. I’ll drop by to see what you’ve been up to a little later. Take care.


  7. Pingback: Sunday Stills: Seeking to be Enveloped in #Light – Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

  8. What a wonderful, thoughtful post, Suzanne! Your WOTY had quite the journey! I LOVE this “Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint, and races are won by those who pace themselves, create balance and find the light within!” Wow, such wisdom. I haven’t landed on a WOTY yet and I may not. Thank you for adding Sunday Stills to your list of challenges today! The image of that feather is exquisite!


    1. Hi Terri, Thanks for noticing the feather. That is etched steel and was done by an artist whose work I encountered several years ago in a gallery. The background in his piece was lighter, but I darkened it in my photo version because I wanted the feather to appear to float. He probably wouldn’t appreciate my artistic liberties, but it speaks to me this way. The light is made extraordinary by the darkness. Hopefully, that applies to us all. Wishing you sunshine and light!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good morning, Suzanne,
    I love your monthly wrap-up, and since I haven’t posted this month, I should have written one myself. Maybe I’ll start February with a summary. Last year’s WOTY was “health.” I did okay with regular exercise, but my weight entered the Red Zone, and I had to get Nutrisystem to help me. As of today, I’m down 25 lbs. As you reminded us, it’s all about balance. Loved your wave pictures and wanted to share one from our trip to California last year. Hope you don’t mind. Have a great week! Joe

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Joe, absolutely yes to sharing as many pictures as you want here. You know that the ocean is second only to Malcolm when it comes to making me smile. This shot certainly makes me smile.

    I like writing the monthly wrap-up because it helps me to stay connected to fellow bloggers without a tremendous amount of effort. That sounds lazy, but I think you know what I mean. I enjoy the interaction, but I don’t like the pressure of feeling like I have to deliver several posts per month. The monthly wrap-up and a trip-specific post once in a while work for me. Kicking off the month with a summary sounds like a good idea.

    Congratulations on the weight loss. I went backward during January and with only six weeks left until our cruise, I have to get serious! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Suzanne, It seems to me, with or without a WOTY, you know how to live a balanced life and how to regain balance when the scale tips more to one side than the other. Happy belated birthday to Malcolm! As usual, I love your photos, especially the ocean ones. Thank you for your weekend coffee share. Have a fabulous February!


  12. Hi Suzanne great to have you join us for the What’s Been On Your Calendar? link up and your January did look ‘balanced’ to me. Social connection, being in nature, letting go of possessions no longer required and celebrating your husband’s birthday. I had Balance for my WOTY a couple of years ago and learned that finding balance in our life is vital to good health and well being. This year I’m concentrating on using my TIME wisely and so far so good. I look forward to reading your monthly catch up post in February. Enjoy!


    1. Hi Sue, it feels very much like a continuation of 2022 so far and I am okay with that. I do hope to add in a little more travel this year. That would ‘balance’ things beautifully. I don’t think you will have any trouble managing your time. You always seem to get the most out of every minute!


  13. I’ve never had a WOTY, mostly for the reasons you pointed out… although several possibilities come to mind, nothing quite fit. I love these end of the month shares that allow a glimpse into my blogger buddies’ lives. It sounds like you had a full – and balanced – January. I imagine downsizing your storage unit felt wonderful! Oh, and thanks for the Amazon Prime tip!


    1. Hi Janis, downsizing the storage unit felt like a personal triumph for both of us. The monthly recaps have always been a fun way for me to stuff a lot into one post and catch up with other bloggers. I appreciate that the cool kids (Donna, Jo, Sue, Deb) made it an official thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for joining us with your thoughtful and insightful post Suzanne and for the shoutout to our #WBOYC revised linkup. It’s been great reading everyone’s activities and yours was no exception, what a delightful time you’ve had. I enjoy writing a catch-up post as it reminds me of all I’ve done during the month and how I’m exploring my options :). Your feather photo is awesome and life is all about light and dark isn’t it? Your Malcom sounds like my husband – it’s his birthday today and nothing much is happening but he’s happy with low key and all the messages he gets during the day. We are quite opposite in many things and birthday celebrations are just one example!!


  15. Hi Suzanne,
    I enjoyed reading your post and your ponderings about choosing the right word for 2023. For some reason, most of us live under the strange belief that we will magically change on January 1st each year. Petrsonally, January 1st isn’t really the best timing for such resolutions as Australians tend to fall asleep during January and wakes up around Australia Day which signals the start of the new school year give or take a day or two. Our daughter goes into her final year of school this year. So goodness knows how I’m going to go next year. I’m actually tempted to take the year off after 20 years of parenting. Is that too indulgent or what?
    My word for 2023 is IMPLEMENTATION, which hasn’t been implemented yet.
    Things aren’t looking very promising but there’s 11 months to go.
    Best wishes,


    1. Hi Rowena, your idea of taking a year off after your daughter finishes school isn’t so farfetched. I felt like I had ‘retired’ along with my husband when our daughter went to college. Having my days to ‘be indulgent’ was exactly what I needed. I hope you will give yourself that gift when the time comes. Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much, Suzanne. I absolutely agree with you about that sense of retiring once your kids leave school and some of my friends are already there. I’m really looking forward to it especially as this last year is going to be full on.
        Best wishes,

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Deb, thanks for mentioning the feather photo. That one is a favorite for a variety of reasons. Another January baby. They all seem to have that same, low-key quality that is so endearing. Thank you guys for making the monthly wrap-up posts an official link-up. I love writing them, and I love reading them. Now, I can find them all in one place!


  17. The Nurse’s Secret sounds like a novel I’d enjoy. Thanks for the suggestion. As you probably know I ditched the WOTY idea for this year. So far I feel free as a bird about not allowing one word to nudge me into feeling guilty about not doing things.


  18. At first I was thinking unfold sounded like a great word but by the end I was nodding along with you that it is just not a word I’d be able to hold to either as I do like to have loose plans and structure in my days and year. I definitely struggle to eat healthy when eating out but I am determined to figure out how to balance them both this year since I get so sick of saying no and no thank you when invited out.


    1. Joanne, socializing with my friends and family far outweighs any guilt I feel about making bad food choices. We cook at home a lot, so I figure that balances out my bad choices. I am not a flighty, carefree kind of gal, so unfold definitely didn’t promote the structure and discipline that I need to make sense of life. It sounds really nice though… Thanks for stopping by.


  19. I am seriously starting to think that your website hates me :-). I am trying again from a different computer…haha! I love the word unfold. I think that is mine. Sorry about the covid cases for the kids, but you’ll see them soon no doubt, and make up for the lost time. I also had covid like illness from Christmas till past the new year and had to have antibiotics.
    Pretty sure l caught it from my friend’s college-aged kid who was on holiday from Dublin. Thank god l was well enough for our two-week Italy trip. Happy Belated Birthday to Malcolm! I’m glad he got to celebrate it the way he wanted.


  20. I’ve given up on choosing a WOTY. I’m at a point in life where I have to take things as they come. I love the idea of a WOTY but I never seemed to follow it when I’ve had one. My life will be aimless, I guess!! 😉


  21. Hi Kem, I feel the same about a couple of blogs I visit. The post opens in code, which looks like total jibberish. I wait a while, try again and it works. Sorry that happens to you with my site and thanks for trying an alternative door.

    Covid was more of a nuisance than anything else for the kids since they were not allowed to come to work and had to work from home – together – in tight quarters – for two weeks! Sorry your symptoms required antibiotics. That stinks. But, at least you were well enough for Italy! I’ll pop over and read your latest soon.

    Thanks for the b-day wishes to M. He had a good day.


  22. Those pictures of the waves are beautiful, Suzanne. I live far from the ocean, so I have really enjoyed the past couple of weeks staying right on the beach and letting the sound of the waves lull me to sleep. I enjoyed reading about your WOTY journey. It sounds like you don’t need to focus on one word this year. I think the process of considering a WOTY can sometimes be enough to remind you of what is important to you and what you would like more of in your life at this point in time.


  23. Hi Christie, I think you are right that the ‘process’ of considering a word is sometimes enough to provide clarity. It feels good to be satisfied with the way things are. Two weeks of sleeping by the ocean sounds like heaven. Does a nap in my beach chair count?


  24. Very interesting thoughts about the different options for a word of the year… I did a lot of reflection on different words but nothing felt suitable, until I realised I already had my obvious WOTY mentioned on my own blog, in previous posts and pages.
    Thanks for your words of wisdom around choosing a word of the year, and setting realistic goals around it. My word last year was calm, and it was very useful, helped me change my thinking and develop strategies, but certainly calm is always a work in progress! This year I’ve chosen a Swedish word that is the closest equivalent to grit, but it’s more than that too. This is a less abstract word and that’s exactly what I was aiming for, I wanted something actionable that could include a few different goals I want to achieve.
    It sounds like you’ve had a good January and I hope you’ll see your kids soon. That book sounds very interesting!


  25. Hi Suzanne, Oooh, goosebumps with “unfold” and your description. To me, this means ‘acceptance’ when dealing with people. Ha, ha, ‘dry January’ especially with the new drinks/wine rules…no more than 2 glasses per week. Many memes on this one.

    And, yes, I always like the word ‘balance.’ I love Malcolm’s phrase ‘one of the best birthdays ever’ which shares a great deal about Malcolm and his priorities. Thank you for a thought-provoking and inspirational post, Suzanne. Always, great photos!💕


  26. I haven’t tried having a word of the year, but I do try to be intentional about life goals and January is often when I think of that the most. I like your idea of pacing….I can’t just let things unfold either, but I also doing like being rushed. Planning ahead but going slowly enough to enjoy the present sounds ideal to me!


  27. Hi Ann, January signifies ‘new beginnings for many, but I prefer to look at this time of year as an opportunity to ‘correct,’ or ‘tweak’ a few things that didn’t feel quite right about the previous year. Our lifestyle continues to evolve and we need to pay attention and be in the moment as often as possible. Thanks for the visit.


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