22 for 2022

Mary Swan-Bell
4 min readDec 31, 2021

One of our favorite family games is Scattergories. Have you played? The object is to score points by “uniquely naming objects within a set of categories given an initial letter and within a time limit.” Categories might include: A girl’s name, something you find at the zoo, a movie, a president, all starting with the letter J. You get extra points if your guess uses the starting letter multiple times: say, Joan Jett, for a girl’s name. However, if another player guesses the same neither scores points.

In our mildly competitive family, someone often begrudgingly scoffs, “CROSS IT!” when another player guesses the same.Sometimes, as the sand slips through the hourglass, my son and I will find ourselves stuck on one word. Consider J, the first word that comes into my mind is Jinx, and that’s it, I can’t get beyond this linguistic trap. Girl’s name: Jinxy, something you find at the zoo: Jinxes, a movie: Jinxed. When adding up our dearth of points for the round, we’ll ask each other: What was your word? JINX.

That was a long-winded introduction to tell you how I chose a word for the year*. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, and one kept circling in my head: BOLD. Bold? Hmmm. Not a word I’d use to describe myself, my life, or my mostly black/gray/denim wardrobe.

Bold: of a person: showing the ability to take risks; confident, courageous. Of a color or design: having a strong or vivid appearance. I live in my comfort zone avoiding unnecessary risks. No, thank you. Next word please.

I do some of my best thinking when I’m driving and can’t write or google or look things up. Yesterday, I was driving and thinking about the word bold, trying to make it make sense for me. This line Go boldly…somewhere…swirled in my head. When I got home I started googling. I knew it was not from the opening of Star Trek, “To boldly go where no man has gone before,” that split infinitive makes me crazy. I kept thinking and googling, and realized the line was: Go boldly into that good night. Not a quote at all, but my internally edited version of Dylan Thomas’ poem: “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Typical.

And so, much like the wand chooses the wizard at Ollivander’s, it seems the word bold chose me, mostly by virtue of the fact that I can’t shake it.

Mary Swan-Bell

dreamer•mystic•seeker• author, Post-Its and Polaroids•