I lost count of the number of times I told myself this and encouraged others to do the same. It was always used in moments when life seemed to be overwhelming. There isn’t an easy word, or even words, to summarize the year of 2020 and the dramatic shifts in our lives and the ongoing struggles of a nation. Surviving and finding ways to get through or thrive has pushed us all to our limits.It seems that many of us were simply ready to ring in a new year with a celebration focused on the fact we survived the year. Getting through such a difficult year is indeed something to celebrate.
I know I was ready to celebrate. The year 2020 came on the heels of a tough 2019 for me personally so I’ve felt kind of battered for a while with what felt like one difficult or devastating thing after another.
When things lull between Christmas and New Year, it became an even more important tine to reflect and figure out a plan or way to look forward.
One of the things I kept returning to was what brought the most joy in 2020? What actions or activities helped me to stay mentally and physically well balanced, feeling connected, and getting things done that I wanted to get done? How can I fully align my work and my life?
In all my reflections and contemplations, I kept returning to a single word–cherish.
Cherish etymologically comes from the old French word cheriss, that became cherir, which is has a derivative of cher. The latter of which is a key word in Cajun French where idiomatically cher is ported into all sorts phrases for and about people who are dear to you. My grandmother’s name for me when I was little was actually a phrase that started with my little dear one (ma petite cheré) but ended with a slang term that best translates as pain in the rear. When she used this phrase, she said it so quickly it sounded like a single word. It was also a clear sign that I was likely in trouble!
So its fitting I would be drawn to a word for the year that is so firmly connected to memories of my grandmother. Cherish seems fitting:
I kept coming back to cherish because in those moments when I need strength I am drawn to memories of moments passed that I hold dear: conversations about nothing and everything, laughter with drinks, tears with someone holding my hand, the perfect sunset and the hope of the sunrise, the shared successes and the trials of failures. This list could be endless.
To cherish something means it holds great value to you, and in this moment, it seems we all need to recognize what we value most and hold onto it, to cherish it as long and as hard as we can. Cherish also means to hold onto something resolutely, which brings hope to the forefront. And we can always use a little more hope, a little more possibility for a better tomorrow.
For me, cherish is centered to people and to the relationships between and among them. In both professional and personal arenas, the relationships we have with people bring strength and patience and hope and love and kindness and generosity and so many other things. Cherish brings together the past, present, and future in a relational way makes me feel connected and never alone.
So for 2021 I wish ways to cherish the people and the moments; I wish you ways to cherish the dreams and hopes you have for the future; I wish you being cherished.