This Filipino Slang Word Helped Me Figure Out My Theme of the Year
Find that word that hits you right in the gut
What if resolutions complicate our lives and pressure us more than we realized? We look to these laundry lists of tasks and milestones to lead better, happier lives — but what if all they do is make us feel like a failure when we don’t measure up to them, or leave us looking for more even after we achieve them?
This word is your theme of the year.
“A theme is a baseline ideal,” he wrote, “one that you use to guide your actions and decisions”. A theme succeeds where hard goals fall short: “It turns happiness into an attainable, daily standard that’s based on your behavior, not your accomplishments.”
The concept is pretty straightforward. Pick one word, remember it, and repeatedly ask yourself throughout the year, “Is this aligned with my theme?” And yet, for the past two years, I just couldn’t make it work — my chosen word barely stuck.
I know what you’re thinking — it’s one word. I literally had just one job.
It was beyond me how I could fail. But then I thought about how long 365 days is — how much happens within a year, how much we end up doing (or coping?), how fast things change in the actual world, but more so in our inner worlds where it’s probably just as… dynamic, how many more curveballs (how many more variants?!) the universe has up its sleeve, and generally, the amount of clutter and chatter we have to deal with daily.
If even our preciously-crafted resolutions get lost in all the minutiae, then what more a single word?
But for 2022, I told myself I was determined to follow through on my theme. And upon reflecting on my failed attempts, I realized where I went wrong: it was the choice of word itself.
There are about 170,000 words in the English language. To zero in on one word is a task that puts the needle in the haystack to shame. Maybe that’s why, last year, as I racked my brains for the perfect word, I skipped English…