A Word for the New Year

I’ve got all my journals and notebooks spread around me this evening. There are orderly lists and quickly jotted notes; two abandoned pens and one with lovely, dark ink that I’m still using. It’s almost the new year. I have a word for the year and a neatly-written list of goals for 2021 set up in my happy, little, habituary.

Entering into 2021 feels pretty heavy at times. This past year was deeply challenging and life altering in so many ways, and I feel as though my view of so many people has been irrevocably altered. At the end of 2020, I’m feeling a little lonelier and sadder than I was at this time last year, but also stronger. I’ve seen what hard times can do to my community and it’s beautiful. Thanks to 2020, I’ve found the friends I can trust, and spent hours nourishing and being nourished.


My word for 2020 felt even more relevant than I’d expected. It was my primary point of focus this year – the home, my domestic hermitage where kids run careless under the trees, prayers are said, and people gather for much-needed hospitality.

For the first time, I felt satisfied with my year’s embodiment of it’s word. 2020 was a domestic year. To be honest, I don’t want that aspect of the year to end. In 2021, my focus on home will continue and build on the work I’ve begun in the past year. So in the coming year, my word укро́мный builds on the cozy domesticity of the previous year, and supports it through the uncertainty of 2021.


This pretty, Russian word means ‘cozy’ and ‘hidden’, or ‘secluded’. Perfect for my tiny, woodland home! And pursuing укро́мный (pronounced “ukromny”) includes all the cozy, domestic aspects of woodland homemaking, as well as the more reclusive and secretive tendencies that began to renew in me during the past year.

What are some of the goals that fall under укро́мный?

Well, first and foremost, I removed my social media. No more Instagram! I’m looking into reducing other aspects of online sharing (though not this blog), and in early January, I’ll be disconnecting my smart phone and phone-based data. Which means I’ll have to leave my house to use internet, and my little yurt will be an entirely offline refuge again! I’m thrilled about this change. I’ll be less accessible to my online friends, but more available to my family those in my little, rural community. The rhythm of daily life will be more natural and more rooted. Plus, my phone bill will drop by half!

In the end of 2020, I reduced my outside commitments. I spent time reviewing what took me away from home, and cutting out anything that felt expendable. These days, my only consistent away-from-home activities are baking with the parish bread ministry and Mass. And while that may seem isolating to some, it actually gives me the time necessary to renew, write, and engage with my family.

These days, I’m being honest with myself about which choices are actually best for me, and which choices are just conventional and easy. Embracing укро́мный is one of those delightful choices that feels right and refreshing after the weight of this past year.

Right now, I’m still in the planning and preparing stage of the journey. I’ve got my good pen and all my journals beside me. Candles are burning and music is playing in the background. I’ll keep you updated on my укро́мный journey.

What are your goals entering into 2021? Are you making a lot of intentions, or just going gently into the new year?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. tat2willa says:

    Lovely to read, I too am making big changes. I too, deleted Instagram. Happy New Year, Masha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masha says:

      Happy New Year!!! Yay for leaving Instagram behind! I’m so glad to see you here!!


  2. What a fantastic Russian word! Your goals sound wonderful. I applaud your phone decision! I have never owned a smartphone (I use a $20 feature phone to call and text) and while it is frustrating when people try to communicate via group or picture texts (neither of which my phone can handle) it really helps me to not get too absorbed in the online world or outside activities.

    As I look back on 2020 and think about the coming year, one of my goals is to be intentional about my relationships–as countless activities were shut down over this past year, we found ourselves diving even further into building relationships with the neighbors on our block (previously, we knew many of them, but were only close to a few). My husband and I have also talked about hospitality, and how we’d love to see people but time flies and we never get around to having people over-so we’re making a commitment to regularly invite others over if they feel comfortable (since everyone has various comfort levels with health stuff). I also want to dive into creative writing and freelance writing more, start a newsletter for my blog, get my blog onto a new platform…that kind of stuff. I hope to gently go into the coming year’s goals, but knowing myself, I’m probably going to make more goals than I originally thought I would haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masha says:

      Ooooh that sounds so lovely! 2020 was such a year for hospitality and building relationships with neighbors for us as well.. I love your goals for 2021 – getting a newsletter for your blog sounds complicated, but I might have to look into it as well!


  3. Lavendre&Tyme says:

    I suppose I’m having hard time choosing my word this year…. ruminating on what Lucca and I need and what our little family is going to change into these next few months….
    I do feel the pull to return more to my home, to make it a refuge for Lucca and myself and the Gentleman.
    So maybe a return to simplicity if there’s a word for that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masha says:

      Yes! Simplicity is good and simple… so is refuge though!

      Your home always looks like such a cozy refuge for everyone in it!


  4. Chiara says:

    Thank you for this post, Masha. My “New Year’s Resolution” is to ditch social media and move back to blogs when it comes to internet usage, and yours is as warm and cozy and home-y as I imagine your yurt is. I look forward to visiting it more often. ♥ I had entirely forgotten about the tradition of the word of the year, but I’ve found it so helpful in the past. I’ll be spending some of my last evening of the year meditating on what my own ought to be. May God shower you & yours with His grace and love in the coming year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masha says:

      Thank you! I think a lot of us are moving back to the slower world of blogs this year!

      I’d love to hear what word you come up with for 2021! Blessings and peace to you and yours as well!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s