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2013: One Word

One Word. Encapsulate the year in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2014 for you?

The one word that captures this year (from 2012, 2011 and 2010):


I first wrote “reflection”. But that wasn’t quite right. That is everything that I write in this blog. But rather, it’s understanding.

In Istanbul, an ice cream maker responded to me in Turkish. I watched him carefully as he said words that I didn’t understand. His face seemed to show so much joy. So much pleasure in his work. He looked between us—a local friend, Chris, and me. In his 5 minute response, I thought that he was describing a typical answer. A response to a standard question of “what is your happiest moment?” I expected the pleasure of the first day and the first customer. Yes, it did contain that. But there was more. He said that it was when we came to speak with him. And in that very moment, he voice wavered. I didn’t notice in the harsh fluorescent lights in the late evening. My local friend did and mentioned it to me later.

I always strive for understanding. For why people do things. And even though I missed that moment. This year, I better understand others and myself. I can see clearly why people fight and why people say nothing. I mentioned to a friend once why his brother didn’t want to visit their dad. “Because he’s afraid,” I said.

My friend was stunned for a moment and said, “I never thought about that. Thank you.”

Some may say that I was crazy to go on a journey around the world to taste ice cream. What I actually believe was that I wanted to understand happiness. I wanted to understand if happiness is the same throughout the world. I wanted to understand if we became happy the same way. I wanted to understand why my happiness was so fleeting despite having everything.

I wanted to understand my boundaries and where I could not let others cross. Where it was enough for me. Where it was okay to stretch. And simply to understand myself so that I could accept myself.

People are the same everywhere. That is, everyone likes pizza (except me).

Everybody loves ice cream. Especially their first time.

Everyone wants to know their father.

Next year, I hope that it’s more of understanding. I hope that it’s revelation. I hope that it’s innovation. To gain a different perspective.