Listen was my word of the year for 2020. When I chose it last January I wrote that I wanted to get better at ‘listening’ in lots of different areas. I think I was pretty successful in some of them, but not as successful in others.
I said I wanted to start listening to more podcasts and I did. Some I especially liked and wrote about were Mobituaries with Mo Rocca, Heavy Weight with Jonathan Goldstein, 1619 with Nikole Hannah Jones and Through Line with Rund Abdelfatah & Ramtin Arablouei. Other podcasts I enjoyed quite regularly were This American Life and Hidden Brain.
I also wanted to start listening to more music and different kinds of music. To inspire me I subscribed to Apple Music and have added lots of new songs to my playlists this last year. Dave and I regularly listen to my expanded music library while driving although this has been the source of some debate.
My son Bucky was actually largely responsible for the widening of my musical listening horizons in 2020. His band Royal Canoe got the year off to a bang with their Glacial Show. In January they played music from their albums on instruments made of ice to huge crowds down at The Forks in Winnipeg. That was certainly one of my most unique musical experiences.
Since his careers as a touring professional musician and a music booking agent came to an abrupt halt with the pandemic my son started all kinds of new ventures and one was a weekly radio show. The music he played on his program was almost all new to me and introduced me to many artists I had never heard before.
I said last year that I wanted to start listening to my body and get enough exercise but I also wanted to learn to listen to my body when it told me to rest. The pandemic has certainly meant my body gets more rest since there aren’t lots of places for it to go. However, I have still tried to listen to my body calling to me to get outdoors and keep fit. My husband Dave has been a great inspiration encouraging me to walk or cycle with him every day.
Another goal for 2020 was to listen to critiques of my writing and take them seriously and act on them. I did that by submitting work to contests and editors and my writers group and getting lots of great feedback I took to heart. That resulted in a book contract.
I had one listening goal where my progress is questionable. I wanted to talk less and listen more and to be a more sensitive listener so I could improve my relationships with others. Not being able to get together with people to visit and not seeing them in person to sense their mood or body language has made listening in a more sensitive way a challenge and is something I will need to keep working on.
I haven’t picked a word for 2021 yet. I am still thinking about it. I’ll let you know when I’ve decided on one.