My Three Words for 2010

Traveling by car for more than ten hours gives you plenty of time to think, even when the weather is dicey.  When Pete and I set out to visit family in Michigan for the holidays, I welcomed the drive time.

It seemed as though the entire blogging world was filled with end of the year content: enumerating best posts, reviewing quantifiable results, looking forward to the New Year, wondering if it would be “okay” to unplug for a week or so without conceivable harm, and so on.  Except here.  “Oh well,” I thought to myself.  “You’ll write something for PassingThru when you’re moved to write it.”

And the truth is, I wasn’t moved to write something until now.  A post Chris Brogan wrote on January 1 resonated with me and I thought about it on our way back, all the way through Wisconsin.  (And our friend Lance at The Jungle of Life knows just how long that is!)  Chris selects three words each year to guide his goal-setting and keep him mindful of his objectives.  It’s an admirable practice.

Last year, Lance asked what our word might be for 2009, quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes: “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.”

Lance chose as his 2009 word, “Courage.”  Mine was “Mindful.”  I commented, “My word is mindful. I think I’m fairly aware and observant, but, like Vered, I want to live more in the present. What’s done is done, and what comes will come. Right now needs to be vivid and abundantly enough.”

I mentally reviewed the events of 2009 as we hurtled westward on I-90 chasing a darkening sky.  I had definitely been more mindful.  Circumstances had aligned to cause Pete and me to abandon the past, and appreciate the things in our midst.

Our best outcomes were unveiled easily, logically, sequentially, and contained an element of joy.  Worst outcomes have always been the ones where we struggled against the current, forcing a deal or reluctant result.  We had finally said goodbye to activities that needed to go, and had opened our minds and hearts to new opportunities.  We had celebrated and renewed relationships in the family.  We had mourned, and we had rejoiced.  It was all good.

Still, I wondered.  What might the word be for 2010?  Better yet, could I possibly come up with three words, as Chris did?  Chris’s discussion centered on how his three words “sit above the actual goals, and set [his] guiding principles in place.” His post advised to “come up with something that would take more than a sentence to describe, but that when you think about it, the ideas explode out to fill your head with thoughts of how you might want to conduct yourself.” Words with life in them.  Words made of bedrock, not clay.  Words that would spark.

The blue moon’s remnant rose to our north and illuminated the frozen midwest landscape in the late afternoon of the first day of the year.  As we stopped west of Black River Falls at the Club 95 for dinner, I set my thoughts aside and people-watched.  The rural revelers were capping off the holidays.  A waitress’s parents came in and she greeted them with unbridled delight and an “I love you.”  New babies were content to be passed along to willing surrogates among several generations.  At the bar where we sat, folks were greeted by name, and we felt comfortable joining in the good-natured banter.

Earlier, around Madison, we had tuned into Wisconsin Public Radio.  The subject was champagne.  Tilar Mazzeo, who had written The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It, mentioned this seminal quote from her book: Toward the end of her life, in the 1860s, she wrote to a great-grandchild: “The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. . .” Mindful, the Widow Clicquot was.  Her words might have been “invent,” “go,” and “determination.”

On the show, Mazzeo also debunked the oft-quoted fable of Dom Perignon, who was said to have cried out after his first sip of his creation, “Come quickly!  I am drinking the stars!”  No matter, I thought.  Champagne is by far one of the happiest accidents.  The Widow Clicquot married her considerable entrepreneurial skills with her passion for creating a flawless, sparkling product for new markets in St. Petersburg and London.  Mazzeo attributes the work of Madame Clicquot as paving the way toward “mass-culture celebration.”

As we completed the final 50 miles to the Twin Cities, I thought again of our own celebrations.  Before we left for Michigan, we enjoyed the company of family and friends on a lovely winter Sunday afternoon.  The champagne flowed freely, and we honored each other with gifts chosen or handmade from the heart.

When we arrived in Michigan, we celebrated with members of my family.  My brother and sister and I had not been all together at Christmas in over thirty years.  The following days we spent with cousins, for whom it had been more than forty.  We toasted many times during the week, culminating with a midnight glass on New Year’s Eve.  We honored those who had left us, and anticipated one new baby and two upcoming weddings.

As Pete and I rolled across the St. Croix River bridge, I had my three words.  Not as business-focused, perhaps, as those Chris Brogan chose.  Not as reverential as a more enlightened thinker might select.  But definitely filling my head with ideas about how I might want to conduct myself, and easily taking more than a sentence to explain – even for someone not as wordy as me!  🙂

My three words remind me to not let the day-to-day distract me from celebrating what matters.  I will appreciate and support.  I will continue to let go of negative influences.  I will seek out positive people and opportunities that constantly flow.  I will enjoy life unfettered by needless worry of my own making.  I enter the new decade filled with promise and good will.

My three words:  Drink. More. Champagne.


  1. says

    Drink more champagne is like celebration and living in the moment and bliss! I love it and I think it is perfect perfect perfect for your new year.

    It sounds like an awesome life metaphor. 🙂
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..How to Rock 2010! =-.

  2. says

    Betsy, I laughed out loud at your three words. Happy New Year, BTW.
    My three words? “I. Don’t. Know.” Or translated… “The. Adventure. Continues.” Okay, so that is 6 words. What can I say…

    I remember long drives in THAT kind of weather in your picture. I miss the snow, but not travelling in it. You always have to watch out for the *other guy*.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Mother Nature Waits for Nobody =-.

  3. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hahaha Lori – That’s the spirit! We love sushi, too. We were ecstatic that our new grocer employs sushi chefs in the deli, yay! I love it that you chose celebration, too. Thanks.

    Hi Mike – LOL! Yep, there’s some kind of climate change going on, isn’t there? To the cold side. Or perhaps hell is just getting frosty because the Vikings have a shot at the Super Bowl this year? 😀

  4. Jennifer Schroeder says

    My sentiments exactly. I propose a toast – to renewing a long-ago friendship and a wonderful afternoon.

    We have two bottles of champagne left over from our New Year’s Eve revelry. I am now thinking I will invite friends over for a celebration of the good things in our lives and toasting one another.

  5. says

    Hi Betsy ..that’s a long way. I’ve always driven to see my mother in Penzance and back – 300 miles each way – here in the UK that’s quite far! & quite enjoyed the drives .. as you say peace to think – and our roads can be quite pretty.

    I’d join you on Drink. More. Champagne. I am in the throes of trying to think of a phrase with five syllables – and to that haven’t come up trumps .. I need to keep thinking .. so three words I’ll be pondering – & be back to check in …

    Glad you had a wonderful family time .. and that you’re safe and well in that terrible weather … Happy New Year –
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Books, books – Glorious books … =-.

  6. says

    Hi Betsy,
    Well…I can certainly attest to long drives through Wisconsin!! In fact, over Thanksgiving, we drove seven hours in one day, and never left that very fine state we call Wisconsin (although we did get near to your lovely Minnesota border…).

    Your three words are most excellent! And when I read them, I think about life and really enjoying it! And that’s a great place to be in.

    Interestingly, I have just come up with my word (singular) for the year. The interesting part, is that it started as three words – and then I broke that down into one word that summed it all up. My three words: Action. Adventure. Fun. And from that, my final one word: SPLASH!

    I’m toasting with you Betsy (and Pete)!!
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..And The Word Is (2010)… =-.

  7. Dot says

    I cracked up when I got to the end, but then, that’s how you are — full of life and laughter. My word for this year is Health. Last year’s was the same, but I think I called it GetHealth or something.
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on Snowstorm! by Sara =-.

  8. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Jennifer – Re-connecting with you had a lot to do with the inspiration behind this post. I see many more hours together in our future, along with more champagne! Bring it on! Thanks.

    Hi Vered – We have to make a conscious decision to do so in the face of so many contrary influences, don’t we? Thanks, and cheers!

    Hi Hayden – We’re in agreement on the awesome life metaphor! I see you boldly moving forward with constant affirmations, and you inspire me. Thank you!

    Hi Davina – I can’t imagine the adventure NOT continuing with you! You’re so creative and we’ve recently seen how deep and wide your creative construct is. I look forward to sharing your future! Thanks.

    Hi Hilary – Yes, the distances are greater in North America, aren’t they? You embrace the present, and I find that inspirational. Would Drink.Bubbly.Champagne. be an option for you? 😀

    Hi Lance – As I commented on your post this morning, SPLASH is a terrific choice, so full of infectious fun! All the best to you in the New Year and thank you for your part in inspiring me.

    Hi Dot – Thank you! Laughter is the best medicine, isn’t it? Let’s laugh often together and I’ll bet health will come to stay with you. Cheers!

  9. says

    Great post Betsy and I too did a 5 hour drive into the snow for cross country skiing with all the family of this generation together…wonderful experience.
    I let the posts for a week and now as we are chatting can’t get my posts onto the facebook newsfeed…only on my wall????

    Three words….hmmm…. health comes to mind for right now…I just need much more laughter in my life Great comeback!
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Cleaning Up My ACT =-.

  10. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi again, Hilary – Your entire comment is bubbly!

    Hi Patricia – What a great choice! Laughter can be our virus! Quick, let’s run and infect Dot first, since she and you have similar goals! Happy New Year! Thanks.

  11. says

    Hi Betsy,

    I just left Lance’s blog and saw his word, and now I come here and see you’ve picked three. Your three words remind me of “Eat Dessert First”. 🙂

    I was thinking of you being on the roads when I watched the weather channel. I prayed you had a safe trip. From the sounds of it, you had a fabulous holiday with your relatives. Oh what fun it is to create memories.

    Happy New Year to you and Pete!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..The Power Of A Post =-.

  12. says

    I loved the post. After suffering a tragic loss this time last year, where a young life was suddenly cut short, my 3 words for this year are:

  13. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Barbara – And I was thinking of you and your weather at the same time! Eat.Dessert.First is an awesome choice, too. What would happen if we removed the stigma from dessert once and for all? We could honor dessert more fully, right? Thanks!

    Hi Judy – And of course you know Ryan is part of this inspiration. He lived every moment to its maximum potential and celebrated life with total abandon. What an example your boy continues to be! Love you!

  14. says

    ha ha I guess my 3 words are No. More. Blog. But that doesn’t sound very cheerful, so perhaps I could make them New. Head. Space.

    I just want to say thank you for being part of my blogging life, Betsy, and all the best with everything!
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..My Last Blog Post =-.

  15. says

    My beautiful witty comment about the Veuve Cliquot and rural revelers in delightful abandon. Gone. Eaten by this iPhone.

    Since I’m so down- hearted now, I’ll end simply saying that in the 2 hours over the holidays I unplugged myself from the Internet I met with nary a conceivable harm. And if I can live through that, anyone can!

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Funny Typos, “Like A Bord on A Wire,” 14 =-.

  16. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Robin – I know you’ll still be hanging around even if LLF isn’t live anymore. Congratulations on your new adventures in the world of music! Thank you.

    Hi Jannie – Oooh Veuve Clicquot – perhaps your comment has effervesced into the stars because of its subject, as legend would have had the good Dom recognize! Happy New Year, and can’t wait to see more of the redecorating over at your place. Thanks.

    Hi Kim – Both worthy choices! It’s interesting that we’re all choosing a phrase with action. Chris Brogan’s words were all nouns. I’m really liking all these choices! Thank you.

  17. says

    My word for 2010 is “Whatever”.

    2009 was an (er)…interesting year. Including some serious family crises and significant job problems. But I muddled my way through it, and I’m just now catching my breath.

    So “whatever”. Nothing surprises me.

    I have no idea what the year will bring…but good or bad, I’ll take it as it comes.

  18. says

    I have been a fan of Madam Clicquot for a long time. She was a pushy broad, which is what I want to be when I grow up. Thanks for a great and though provoking post. Have a fabulous 2010.

  19. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Friar – It’s an interesting choice, your word. Of course, I heard “whatever” frequently in response from teenagers, but that was delivered in kind of a sullen tone as more of a non-response, like “yeah, right.” We’ve all used it that way. But if you put a higher, lighter tone to “whatever,” then it comes out strong, meeting the world head on, aware and determined. I like that. Thanks!

    Hi Erin – Belated welcome to PassingThru! I was so fascinated by the story of Madame Clicquot that I’ve decided I must read Mazzeo’s book. Can’t get enough pushy broad stories! I would be interested to know how you came to know about her, and if you could point to anything else I might read. Thank you, and we hope you’ll hang around.

    Hi Evelyn – I loved your power words post, and I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I became more fully acquainted with the practice of intention from my feng shui practitioner friends. I’ve come to see how powerful and intuitive the process can be. Thank you, and happy 2010 to you, too!

  20. says

    Hi Betsy, I learned about the company when reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. The author of the book works for the Cliquot distribution company here in the use. The Cliquot website has a history time line which is informative and interesting. I think they have a couple of sister sites, not sure which one I was in. Would love to read a book about it.
    .-= Erin Slusher´s last blog ..Pray for Haiti =-.

  21. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Erin – The Wisconsin Public Radio show we were listening to had that very author chime in for a discussion with Tilar Mazzeo! The subject veered into glass ceiling for women in the wine industry, and how the company entered the U.S. market. Very interesting discussion, and of course her accent was charming. I haven’t read either book, but now I feel I must exercise those holiday gift cards! Thank you so much!


  1. […] Drink.More.Champagne (2010)  Implementing this focus was fun! Little did I know, though, how inspiring my three words would be, reminding me to celebrate, appreciate, and support. Complimented by a friend who cited my example as inspiration, the sentiments associated celebration are infectious! The champagne has continued to flow, along with many blessings. […]