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Word for the Year

I admit it, sometimes I let the little stuff get to me. And I further admit that sometimes I react to stressors and disappointments by using words that aren't very ladylike. I want to change that behavior in the coming year. So I am choosing a new word to use instead of those less-than-polite ones that pop out (altogether inadvertently, of course) when something tries to trip me up, put a crimp in my style or harsh my buzz. I'm going to say "challenge."

Challenge is a good word for me. Better than "obstacle" or "problem," the word "challenge" makes me hunch my shoulders and clench my fists and stick out my chin and try to find a solution. It's like trying to solve a puzzle, looking at all the different angles and options available to find the answer. Challenge motivates me to do something concrete instead of giving in to despair and woe because things look impossible. Challenge also makes me react with more rationality, instead of succumbing to the temptation to bluster, blather and blunder through a problem. Challenge makes me clear eyed and level headed. Faced with a daunting situation, I can remain calm and patient and step back to assess the problem, rather than recklessly running ahead without rhyme or reason and possibly making things work.

There's something in me that won't back down from a challenge, something that kicks into gear when you dare me or say I can't do something. That's when my hackles rise and the fire starts to spark in my eyes. I spent too many years of my life acquiescing whenever someone told me I couldn't do something that I really wanted to do. I'm over that now. It's the challenges that make you grow in life. They entangle you and empower you and ensteel you. You learn how to hang in there until you get over the obstacle. You learn just how much you can take. You learn just how far you can go. Challenges teach you a lot about yourself.

So that is my word for the year. What's yours?