What Words Are Similar to/Opposite of Your One Word?
{One Word 2024 March Linkup}

Link all of your ONE WORD blog posts below. Share an update about your One Word in the comments.

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This is an easy—but beneficial—exercise to do each year with your One Word.


Look up your word in the dictionary. Does it have more than one meaning? How many of its meanings are you using for your practice this year? Which meaning is most applicable to you?

My word CURIOSITY has two main meanings: 

1. A strong desire to know or learn something

2. A strange or unusual object or fact

I’m mostly using definition #1 this year. I wonder about many things, including my own inner healing and outward actions, as well as mysteries all around me. But definition #2—uncommon or exotic novelties (curiosities)—definitely grabs my attention as well. 

I also looked up the trending use of CURIOSITY over time. It went down in popularity for quite awhile, but is on an upswing the past few years.

Use over time for Curiosity


List some of your word’s synonyms. If you had to choose one of these as a backup word for this year, which would you choose? Why? 

Synonyms of CURIOSITY that I like:

    • Inquisitive
    • Concern
    • Interested
    • Examine
    • Question
    • Inspect
    • Search

Synonyms of CURIOSITY that I don’t want to become: 

    • Nosy
    • Prying
    • Meddlesome
    • Intrusive

For a backup word, I’d most likely choose CONNECT. It’s not a direct synonym for CURIOSITY, but one of my main goals for curiosity this year is to connect, in relationships with others and within my own understanding of life.


List some of your word’s antonyms. Understanding what your word does NOT mean might help you understand what it DOES mean. What insights do you gain from its opposite?

A few antonyms of CURIOSITY include:

    • Apathetic
    • Disinterested
    • Disregard
    • Unconcerned

This exercise helps me see CURIOSITY on a continuum: from one extreme of being too curious about things that aren’t my business (i.e., nosy and meddlesome) to the other extreme of not caring at all (even when it’s appropriate to care). I want to be curious in the most healthy ways and avoid harmful curiosity (it did kill the cat after all, lol). 

Curiosity for its own sake, or as just an intellectual tool, isn’t my goal. Instead, I want to pair curiosity with kindness, mindfulness, and in a manner that values human dignity, including my own. 


This One Word linkup will remain open for two weeks, closing at midnight on Sunday, April 7. Link as many posts as you’d like about your One Word. Each link will also be shared in our One Word Facebook group

Our April One Word linkup will open on Wednesday, April 24 (and on the 24th of each month for 2024).

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Where’s the Book Inside You?

We ran into each other again at Manna House on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s where we usually see each other.

Cowboy and I first met in his homeless camp. From first glance and first conversation, I knew Cowboy was rich in life stories.

When I couldn’t believe he was as old as he said—he didn’t look his age—he volunteered his ID to prove it. But as the stories added up, I knew he had lived many years. How else can you squeeze so much living into one lifetime?

For several months he’d been promising me a book. One that he’s been writing. It’s about his life.

I definitely want to read Cowboy’s book.

But Cowboy doesn’t always get to the library to type up his tales on the computers there. His health isn’t as great as it used to be. And his years continue to add up.

Will I ever get to read his book?

I’ve read a lot of books in my life. But I haven’t read enough. There are more books I still want to—need to—read.

There are more encounters with love I have yet to experience.

Each life tells a story. Each life shows a unique way to be a human. Cowboy’s life shows a side I didn’t grow up with. Perhaps more struggles. Rougher around the edges. Yet protective and gentle in its own way.

If Cowboy never gets his book finished, I hope I’ll continue running into him at Manna House or the library or occasionally at a mutual friend’s funeral.

I can hear his story, even if I never get to read it. He can talk about it, even when he doesn’t get a chance to write it out.

On the last Wednesday we talked, Cowboy and Susan needed a ride back to their homeless camp (they later moved into an apartment of their own again for a time before Susan passed away). We dropped them off at the edge of their woods.

As they walked deeper into the trees, farther than we could see, I thought again about Cowboy’s future book full of his past stories.

Even if I never get to read them, Cowboy’s stories have already enriched my stories. His life has enriched mine.

But I still hope he’ll finish his book.

You might want to read it, too.

* * *

Whose life story would you like to read? Have you written your own story? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

Read more:

  • His Bread in My Car?
    The homeless boys know the forecast. Cold and stormy. I’ll have to turn up my electric blanket tonight. Life is so unfair.
  • A Year from Homeless
    I asked the once-homeless wife, “Is there anything you miss about living outside, anything at all?” I thought the open air? Birds? People? But what she said surprised me…
  • Whose World Is Real? Theirs or Ours?
    The world of the homeless camp feels brutally real. He tells me he knows who the survivors are. I think he’s right.

One More Try to Go Home

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”
– James A. Michener

One Last Try?

She has one chance left, as I see it.

On Monday, the surgeon will operate on her left eye. He’ll remove the cataract and clear up any other damage he can find.

This will be surgery #3 for my friend V.

  • Surgery #1 in February proved that her eye problems were more complicated than the surgeon had planned for.
  • Surgery #2 the next week with a specialist was successful in replacing her right lens, but unsuccessful in restoring her vision.
  • Surgery #3 this Monday is what we’re counting on, that V will at least be able to see where she is, know if it’s morning or night, find her own way to the bathroom again.

V’s mental disability is challenging enough for her as is it—although I’m not sure she’s aware of such. Through the years she’s learned to adapt enough to get along.

But this new blindness has proved to be a formidable hurdle—although again, does she fully grasp it?

A Quieter Way to Walk

With V on my mind this morning, I put on my sunglasses, a jacket, and a cap. Then step out my front door.

I don’t put on headphones.

It’s quite the change.

When going for a solo walk through my neighborhood, I used to always stream something through my phone to listen to: a playlist of upbeat songs, a podcast episode in my queue, or an audiobook to take me to another place and time.

But the past several months I’ve been trying something different as I walk. Silence. It helps me lean into my one word of the year, Curiosity.

So as I think about my friend V, I begin another walk this morning leaving my front porch, my home base, heading into the known unknown of my street.

Part 1 – Touch

I mentally divide my walk into four sections each time. For the first section, I walk the road concentrating on touch: how my feet feel in my shoes (they hurt), how the air feels on my skin (cool this morning), how my leg muscles dig in deeper (breathe!) as the road ascends a small hill.

Focusing on sensory experiences helps me stay more in the here and now, this very moment that I am alive.

As I move forward, I think about how slowly V moves through life. When she began losing her vision a few months ago, she also started taking shorter steps. When we walk together, she constantly says, “I don’t want to fall.” I reply every time with, “I won’t let you fall,” but honestly, can I meet that promise? 

Part 2 – Sight

On the second section of my walk, I concentrate on what I see, specifically watching for anything that moves. I need the reminder that life is impermanent, that things have changed before and that things will change again. I look at how the leaves have budded a little more since yesterday. I notice the birds flying from one tree to another. I see a leaf skating across the road as the the wind blows it along.

V sees none of these things now. Her combination of cataracts, glaucoma, and whatever else have created a perfect storm, aided by her inability to let anyone know as soon as it began. I wonder why she doesn’t ever ask: “What happened? Why can’t I see?” But she doesn’t. She accepts this as normal.

I continue to hope it’s not.

Part 3 – Sound

I reach the end of the road and turn around, heading back home on the third part of my walk. For this section, I pay attention to sounds. The traffic on the busy road now behind me. The noisy geese honking on the lake. The pounding of my feet on the asphalt.

Thankfully V still has great hearing. She’s 55, an age where many people begin to notice a decline. But not her. They say your other senses sometimes pick up the slack when one gets worse. Wives’ tale or not, I hope V’s hearing stays especially strong now.

Part 4 – Thoughts

For the final stretch home, I release any constraints on where to place my attention. I allow my thoughts to wander. But despite their release to think about whatever they want, I often find myself continuing to notice how my body feels, what I see moving across my path, and how gloriously noisy nature is.

Yet not so today. Today my mind stays on V. I wonder what is next for her if this surgery on Monday works.

And what could be next for her if it doesn’t.

Home Again

I reach my front porch. Home again. This is the place I rest. This is the place others can visit me. This is the place I recover to go out again. I love my home, my anchor.

V has been in her new home, a care facility, for over a month now. She will likely be there for at least another month, if not years (?) ahead. She often asks me, “Will you take me back home today?” I cringe every time. Whether she regains vision on Monday or not, I hope she’ll come to see this new place as a safer, healthier home than the one she came from.

But I don’t know what will happen.

I try to relax in the uncertainty of it all. I want answers for her, for me. But actually none of us know for sure where we’ll be a week from now. Which parts of our bodies might stop working properly. Who will take us by the hand and lead us to a doctor with a goal to help.

We just want all roads to lead us home.

* * *

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more:

sharing at these linkups

Can You Do It Slower?

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
~ Winnie the Pooh

Hurry Through This

As I wind down for the day, I flip through my podcast queue. I want something interesting to listen to as I tidy up the house, brush my teeth, and get ready for bed.

If I hurry through these tasks now, I can squeeze in more time later to read my stack of books.

I find the podcast episode on The Drive that my friend Kay recommended about time, productivity, and purpose. It sounds perfect for me. I check my settings to listen at 2x speed, and plug in my earbuds.

As it begins, I become more curious about what I’m doing as I listen . . . and scurry about.

I identify the tension: Hurrying is uncomfortable. But not finishing things is also uncomfortable. When you think you have more to do than time to do it, shouldn’t you speed up?

I get lost in the thought and miss a few minutes of the podcast. I’m not concentrating well. I rewind, and reduce the speed I’m listening from 2x to 1.5x.

This is still normal, right? To rush through a podcast about not rushing?

Think About Your 4,000 Weeks

I continue listening as the host Peter Attria interviews his guest Oliver Burkeman about Burkeman’s bestseller, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.

I remember reading the book when it was first published in 2021. It felt profound to me then and I’ve since returned to it over and over. [I wrote about it here, and about my friend who didn’t get his 4,000 weeks. The book also made my list of 7 New Books to Make You a Better Person.]

But maybe the lessons have worn off?

I remain curious as the discussion continues in the podcast.

  • About the struggle we have with the finite nature of time (definitely!)
  • About how productivity often turns into a trap (been there)
  • About the myth that if we can be more efficient, we’ll have more time and feel more in control (for sure)

I relate to each item.

“Productivity is a trap. Becoming more efficient just makes you more rushed (and also lonelier). Trying to clear the decks simply makes them fill up again faster.”

By now I’m more than curious. I’m convicted.

If You Slow Down . . .

I adjust the setting of the podcast one final time: from 1.5x to 1x, the normal speed of the conversation as they were speaking it, and the correct speed I need to process what I’m hearing. The message for me in this episode deserves more attention.

But slowing down feels counterintuitive to accomplishing what I want.

  • Projects will be left unfinished.
  • Podcasts will go unheard.
  • Blog posts will go unwritten.

Yet when I slow down, I do notice more. I savor more. I feel more rested. I actually feel more joy. Maybe I’m not designed for super speed. I’m made for my own pace, a Lisa-pace.

I finish the podcast. I pull up highlights I wrote in 2021 from Four Thousand Weeks. Oliver Burkeman’s words come to life again as I read:

“What’s needed is a kind of anti-skill: not the counterproductive strategy of trying to make yourself more efficient, but rather a willingness to resist such urges—to learn to stay with the anxiety of feeling overwhelmed, of not being on top of everything, without automatically responding by trying to fit more in.”

Instead of pushing away the angst of “too much to do” by doing more, surrender to it.

“Choose uncomfortable enlargement over comfortable diminishment whenever you can.”

Make peace with the discomfort of never finishing. Delete a few projects altogether. Burn a few bridges of tasks impossible to complete.

“We’ll do almost anything to avoid burning our bridges, to keep alive the fantasy of a future unconstrained by limitation, yet having burned them, we’re generally pleased that we did so.”

Accepting our limitations is progress towards growth.

Then . . . Stop

And at the end of the day? Stop. Even with tabs still open, emails unfinished, and kitchen uncleaned.

“Be willing to stop when your daily time is up, even when you’re bursting with energy and feel as though you could get much more done.”

I’ll never be on top of it all. No matter how fast I run or how efficient I operate. Completing it all is an illusion, a false promise of certainty and security.

I delete a few more newsletter subscriptions, a few more podcasts, return a few more unfinished books. My present moments are limited and used best when unhurried.

Freedom comes when I lay down doing more things, and focus on doing fewer things, the ones that matter the most to me.

Slow down to live more.

I’ll still listen to some podcasts at 1.5x speed and even 2x speed, but when it really matters, I hope I’ll slow down to 1x more often. How’s your speed?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more about time:

10 Myths (And Realities) About That Fight You Just Had With Your Partner

Why is this happening to me?

Something has gone terribly wrong. Tears are falling now. Doesn’t he realize how painful this is?

It was a weekday morning, post-retirement. My husband Jeff was piddling around the house when he got a grand idea: he would clean out the toy closet today.

It sounded like a wonderful idea. We’d talked for weeks about the need for it.

But an hour later, why were we arguing about it? Why was I now crying about it?

How You Fight

Like many fights between long-term partners, the fight wasn’t really about the problem at hand.

As Julie and John Gottman write about in their excellent new book, Fight Right, a classic fight between partners is often about . . . almost nothing.

Every relationship has conflict. That’s normal. Humans are going to get angry with each other. (If you never have conflict in a relationship? It might be a sign you’re not close.)

What matters isn’t that you fight. What matters is how you fight.

Top 10 Myths About Conflict

In Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict Into Connection, the Gottmans lay out their top ten myths about conflict.

Fight Right

Here are the 10 myths in brief. They go into much more detail in the book.

See if you recognize your latest fight in one of these.

  • Myth #1: Once we find a solution to the big fight we’re having right now, we’ll be all set—no more fighting!
    Reality: Most conflicts are perpetual.
  • Myth #2: If conflict exists in our relationship, we’re not supposed to be together.
    Reality: Conflict is unavoidable, even for the happiest of couples.
  • Myth #3: A conflict is a problem to be solved.
    Reality: We manage most of our conflicts through continuing dialogue—we don’t resolve them.
  • Myth #4: One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.
    Reality: Both partners’ experiences and points of view are valid.
  • Myth #5: Men are more logical than women; women are more emotional than men.
    Reality: Logic and emotion do not have genders.
  • Myth #6: The best conflict management is logical, rational, and unemotional.
    Reality: Neuropsychological research has shown that emotions and logical thinking are intertwined when it comes to problem-solving. One can’t problem-solve well without information derived from one’s emotions.
  • Myth #7: Negative emotions are bad and should be avoided.
    Reality: There is nothing wrong with anger. What matters is how anger is expressed.
  • Myth #8: Nobody can hurt you unless you let them.
    Reality: We can and do hurt each other.
  • Myth #9: You have to love yourself before you can love somebody else.
    Reality: We all have enduring vulnerabilities—triggers, traumas, wounds that may never fully heal—and these vulnerabilities may lead us to not perfectly love ourselves.
  • Myth #10: To be “allowed” to have needs, we have to justify or explain them.
    Reality: Human beings are pack animals; we are built to have needs, as our needs bind us together and help us thrive…together.
    – from Fight Right, by John and Julie Gottman

Start Softly

To fight right, the Gottmans say to start softly. In 97% of our fights, the first three minutes of a fight set the tone for the rest of the conversation. If we start harshly, we immediately put the other person on the defense, which is a horrible start.

Instead, start this way:

“I feel (emotion) about (situation/problem) and I need (your positive need).”

And if you’re the one on the listening side? They say your first job is to fully understand the complaint.

  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Summarize what you hear.
  • Make sure you understand.
  • Avoid defending and rebutting.

Then as you continue the discussion:

  • Stick to one issue at a time.
  • Focus on this situation only.
  • Be curious.
  • Stay as positive as possible.
  • Be the best version of yourself you can be.

Solve the Moment, Not the Whole Conflict

“During a fight, you don’t have to solve the whole conflict. In fact, you shouldn’t try. Instead, solve the moment.

“We can disagree and still be on each other’s side. In conflict, your mission is to allow yourself to be vulnerable.

“This is what ‘solving the moment’ is all about—reframing the goal at this stage of conflict so that your primary objective is to find out more about what your partner is thinking and feeling and needing, and express that yourself before trying to progress to persuasion and compromise.”

The Gottmans say we may need to recalibrate the goal for a fight:

“The goal is not to win. The goal is not to persuade your partner of something. The goal is not to come up with a solution to the problem. Right now, the goal is not even to find a compromise! (This is coming later.)

The goal is to fight with more positivity than negativity.

And if you become overwhelmed in the middle of it all? Ask to take a break from each other—from 20 minutes to 24 hours. Just commit to returning to the conversation, and preferably with an open mind.

After the fight, the Gottmans list ways to make repairs. “It’s one of the main things that separates the masters of love from the disasters.” You’ll find them all in the book.

Closeness for the Win

With Jeff and me that morning, we finally figured out that our arguments weren’t really about where to store the Clue game, whether to donate the extra blocks or not, or how many puzzles to keep.

It wasn’t about those things at all.

Instead, it was about what the cleaning the toy closet represented to me, which was an immense loss and grief. With each toy, I associated a memory of good times past with our own daughters, and a sadness that not all my grandchildren are here now to play with the items.

Once I took responsibility for and exposed my vulnerable emotions, the arguing went away. We still didn’t agree on which shelf to keep the Play-Doh, but now we understood it didn’t really matter.

We felt close again.

We had solved the moment.

Have you read Fight Right? I highly recommend it!

Which myth do you need to stop believing? Share your thoughts in the comments.

My thanks to Netgalley and Rodale
for the review copy of Fight Right.

Welcome the Outsider

Have Enough Favorites?

It’s been a few years now, but I remember the night Brian brought me Vietnamese spring rolls.

He had made spring rolls a couple weeks earlier and brought them to our English as a Second Language class. But I wasn’t there that week. With no time to make homemade rolls again the following week just for me, he bought some from a local Vietnamese restaurant.

He pulled out the takeout box for me to have.

Vietnamese food is an unknown to me. I’m not adventurous in the food department. I like what I like. I have enough favorite foods already; why would I need to try new ones?

But having a Vietnamese friend was once an unknown to me, too.

When New Is Uncomfortable

Brian isn’t his original name. It’s the name he gave himself when he came to America a few months earlier from his home in Vietnam. It’s easier to say.

When I wanted to learn how to pronounce his real name anyway, he laughed and gently told me it would be too hard. I could just call him Brian. He liked that name.

Learning new things can be uncomfortable. Meeting new people even more so. Especially when you speak different languages. It feels rude to ask someone to repeat a word over and over because you can’t understand what they’re saying. Or to be asked in return to speak slower because they’re lost.

Differences often separate us. It’s hard to jump the hurdles to find commonalities. It takes energy and motivation. And time.

To practice his English, Brian prefered real conversations with a native speaker instead of learning through a workbook. So for an hour and a half each Thursday night week after week, we simply talked.

We worked on his pronunciation skills (the th sound is hard for him) and I explained definitions of words he was unsure of (like meteorologist). But we did so through natural discussions about the differences and similarities in our two cultures of America and Vietnam. Weddings, clothing, schools, food, family, holidays, religion.

It Goes Both Ways

As I learned more about Brian’s culture, I learned more about mine, too. Sometimes I’m proud of it; sometimes I’m shamed. The Vietnamese do many things better, some things worse, just like we do.

Even though our sounds differ, our minds search for similar information, our hearts feel the same emotions, our souls want the same connections.

The teaching and learning didn’t go only one direction, but back and forth, round and round.

One word at a time, one conversation at a time, the teacher/student dynamic broke down. It grew into friend-to-friend.

Welcome Home

Despite the hindrances, it’s possible to overcome barriers and reconnect in meaningful ways.

Granted, it takes more effort to understand each other when we don’t sound the same. We have to think harder, lean in, listen closer.

Welcoming the outsider often feels awkward. But we’ve all been the stranger. We know what it means to have received hospitality as a stranger as well as to extend hospitality to the strangers around us. To help others feel at home.

Our efforts are worth it when we discover our common humanity.

I opened the takeout box to try a spring roll. It looked as foreign as it was. I timidly dipped a corner of the rice paper into the sauce. Brian urged me to dunk it more fully. I tried it.

It was good, but it tasted alien to my American tastebuds. I would need a few more bites.

Spring Rolls

When I got home, I encouraged my husband Jeff to try one, too. He did. The culture was spreading. We’d never had Vietnamese food in our mouths—in our house—and now we had both experienced it.

It was no longer an unknown.

Welcome home.

* * *

When have you been an outsider? When have you welcomed the stranger?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

revised from the archives