What’s your word for 2023?

Bertrand Russell quote

I always like this time of year. Whether you believe in making New Year’s resolutions or not, it’s a chance to reflect, look forward, set goals, reinvent ourselves if we want to, and redefine our place and contributions in the world.

It’s also interesting to read the year in review articles and columns that come out around this time. As someone who’s interested in writing, I’m fascinated by the “word of the year” choices.

2022 was the first year Oxford allowed members of the public to vote on the word of the year and 93% voted in favour of a phrase I’ve never even heard of before: goblin mode which won out over metaverse” and “#IStandWith. Merriam-Webster chose the word gaslighting.

I googled “goblin mode” and a wide range of definitions came up, none of them complimentary. It means acting in a way that is reckless, self-indulgent, with no consideration for the well-being of others or social norms or expectations. To embrace your inner goblin is to indulge in a type of behaviour that is lazy, slovenly, or greedy, a means of escape, which Oxford says reflects the ethos, mood or preoccupations of the past 12 months in our post-COVID world.

I think it’s sad that these two words are seen to represent the way the world is feeling right now.

I prefer to choose different words for 2023 based on this quote from philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell: wisdom and courage. Russell wrote this passage in 1953 in Human Society and Ethics, but to me, it resonates today more than ever.

“I allow myself to hope that the world will emerge from its present troubles, that it will one day learn to give the direction of its affairs, not to cruel swindlers and scoundrels, but to men possessed of wisdom and courage.

I see before me a shining vision: a world where none are hungry, where few are ill, where work is pleasant and not excessive, where kindly feeling is common, and where minds released from fear create delight for eye, ear and heart.

Do not say this is impossible. It is not impossible. I do not say it can be done tomorrow, but I do say that it could be done within a thousand years, if only men would bend their minds to the achievement of the kind of happiness that should be distinctive of man.”

What’s your word or quote for 2023? Leave a comment.