One Word (of many) for the Year

ImplosionYears begin and end with words . . . or, more fittingly, one word each.  Over the last few years, many people have taken to the idea of “claiming” a word for the new year, a word they would like to focus on and live into.  At the other end of the year, though, is the annual quest to choose the word that best fits what has actually happened, which is a good challenge in its own way.

Over at Vanity Fair, Kenzie Bryant has gone for the latter, year-end task.  In her look-back piece, Bryant declares that 2022 has been “the year of the implosion.”  And she has interesting proof to back up her claim.  She wisely starts, though with defining the term:

An implosion can occur because the middle is hollow. There is no there there, and nothing can’t support something, so it’s all done in. Collapsed. It’s categorically different from an explosion—those take out everything around them. With an implosion, if anything was relying on the imploded thing for support, it too would topple. With enough of them, it adds up to a general atmosphere—a vibe even!—of broader social flimsiness. A tension that barely holds. Entropy.

Bryan is most concerned with the “frauds” that fell through this year, which I understand but also find a little frustrating.  Things don’t have to be fraudulent in order to implode.  But the point is well-taken, and the “social flimsiness” that she mentions is true on multiple levels.  “The centre cannot hold,” Yeats wrote.  The same is true for many organizations and institutions and relationships and habits, even.

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Like many others, I’ll likely spend the next couple of weeks reflecting on the year.  Like some, I’ve been doing it for a while now.  I don’t think 2022 will easily boil down to one word for me.  It would be wise, I think, to take Bryant’s assertion as a warning, as an opportunity not so much to dance on the remains of the implosion, but to consider the foundation and infrastructure we have lived this last year with, to check on the soundness of things before we build more in the new year.

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