Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Word of the Year: Nachos (Yes, I'm Serious)

I'll admit that it was just a joke at first. I tweeted that my word of the year should be nachos, since I found myself having nachos for the second time in less than a week. That's not typical for me; nachos are not a core food group, after all.

I've been thinking about my 2016 word of the year for weeks, without any luck. Last year's word, "choose," was a bit of a dud. I did make SO MANY choices this year, and like I predicted, some of them were difficult choices. I thought the more definitive "choose" would guide me towards picking the right thing, towards making those tough calls, and it did, but it had a negative connotation that I didn't find very motivating. Prior words of the year "more" and "impact" had the positive vibe I was going for with this exercise. "Choose" did not.

Another part of my hesitation in selecting a word for 2016 was that I'm kind of project-less. In the last six months, I thought I'd come up with something that I found personally enriching, but I haven't found that thing yet. I'm surprised to be getting to 2016 without that thing in place. I realize, too, how much I need that thing, because without it, I've noticed I can let other parts of my life (namely work) take over to a degree that isn't great for me. I'm struggling with finding that thing, my project, and I've been hard on myself about that.

During this past week of vacation, the kids and I spent a lot of time cleaning and de-cluttering their bedrooms, assembling new furniture and not leaving the house much. After a few days of this, we went bowling at one of those places where they bring your food to the lane, but we timed it badly and couldn't get a lane when we arrived. We ate our lunch at a regular table, and given the wait time, I ordered nachos to make the meal take longer. An appetizer with lunch isn't something I do often, but the nachos were really, really good. The perfect thing to have that day. And then I ended up at a mall food court Taco Bell a few days later, again a very rare experience, and found myself ordering nachos again.

Suddenly, the nachos took on a bigger meaning. They weren't just nachos, they were word of the year nachos, emblematic of what I want in the coming year. It's not just about nachos. I want a little less typical, a little less core, a little longer lunch time, a little more perfect thing for that day. A little less hard on myself, a little more fun just for the sake of fun. The recognition that "impact" and "choose" are big and important, but that spontaneous moments of nachos can be big and important too.

So it may seem silly, but yes, I'm going to order my engraved rock with the word "Nachos," but more than that, I'm going to try to document my "nachos moments" over the coming year. I'm going to shoot for one nacho moment a week, and see how I do. I need a little less serious all the time, and hopefully a rock saying "Nachos" will help remind me of just that.

Happy 2016.

(You can see my prior word of the year posts: 2013, 2014 and 2015.)


  1. I love it. They're delicious. You can choose toppings that fit your mood, and there's always enough to share with people :)

  2. I love this. A reminder of the power of serendipity, and of going with it even when things don't go precisely how we thought they would. Great. xox