Slice of Life: One BIG Little Word

Each new year, members of the Slice of Life teaching and writing community traditionally write a post focusing on “One Little Word.” I enjoy the process of sifting through, taking stock, and figuring out where I might land. I enjoy it almost as much as I like to read other folks’ OLW posts. It’s fascinating to get a front-row seat to another writer’s thought process.

Sometimes, my One Little Word is powerful and resonant enough to last me the whole year. More often than not, it changes as life shifts around and through me. This, I think, will be one of those years.

First of all, let me just say how grateful I am to have friends who will ask me how I’m doing, and who know when I’m giving a pat answer or blowing smoke. For the love of all that’s right and good, if you have a person in your life who sees past your fluff, KEEP THEM.

I had three such interactions in the last week or so, and each time, I was asked, “How are you?” Meaning: “How are you…for REAL?”


Honestly, friends, I wasn’t sure how to answer. I’m still not.

That says something.

Right now, there’s a lot of noise, both in my personal life and in my professional life. There’s always something to do, something to worry about, something to take care of. And that’s not new to me. I’m used to it, quite frankly. It’s become my standard operating mode. So what’s the difference right now?

Thing is, my brain and I haven’t spent much quiet time together lately, and I’m feeling those ripples. Perhaps what I need, right now, is the time and the opportunity for focus. That’s completely separate from the time I need to set aside to just get. stuff. DONE. I’m talking about taking moments for introspection, time to just…THINK.

So my One Little Word for now, for however long I might need it?


One of the best gifts I can give myself right now is time to listen to that busy brain of mine. Let it tell me what it needs to say. Let it run through the litany of stuff it’s cycling through. Let it wear itself out a little bit. That way, when it’s time to respond with a little self-talk, it has the space to feel more at ease, to quiet itself down, just a touch.

Life itself might not be quieting down. At least, I don’t expect it to. But I can claim moments of peace and reflection for myself. And when I do, another One Little Word will be waiting in the wings and ready to take its turn.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

11 thoughts on “Slice of Life: One BIG Little Word

  1. My favorite part of this – and I loved the whole thing — is that you said you want this one little word for as long as you need it. That is beautiful. Also, Quiet is a wonderful word!

    1. Thank you! Perhaps it’s my own learning style (of hopping from thing to thing), but I do find that it’s helpful not to hold onto a word if it’s no longer serving me.

  2. I love *quiet* as a OKW. We live in a noisy world that crowds out deep contemplation. I’ve never much cared for the binary reductive thinking about noisy vs quiet classrooms. We need both the voices of other in our lives snd in our heads, as well as the stillness that brings rest and quiet contemplation.

    1. Thank you! And you know, Glenda, I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of the binary we put on things, but you’re absolutely right. We need all sorts of experiences to nourish our selves, just as we need all sorts of foods to nourish our bodies. I’m going to have to think about this for a while.

  3. What a powerful word. Quiet is something we all need but don’t always give ourselves the luxury of seeking. Hope you give yourself the gift of quiet that you need for you.

    1. Thank you! I’m hoping to get to the point with quiet that I have with exercise. As in, I do what I can to build it in to my life, because I’m out of sorts without it.

  4. Quiet is a good one! I like that! I may have to consider quiet for a future word for many of the same reasons you’ve written about. May you find some peaceful moments!

    1. Thank you! I’m still at the spot where I’m working to build in those moments, and that’s a process that will take me a WHILE.

    1. Right? I mean, there are some friends where we have a wonderful time together. But we don’t ever go terribly deep with one another. And those friends are helpful. Still, it’s also helpful for me to have friends I can cast away the tough candy-coated shell for. There’s a certain safety there.

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