2013 is almost a week old already. A lot of people have written about resolutions and plans. I don’t write resolutions, but I felt that I wanted to make some kind of statement to myself. So I wrote wishes on self-made cards and they are turning out to be quite motivating, spread around my desk. And pretty to look at. Amongst them are things as general and important as ‘I want to earn my own money again’, as well as those that are more personal and immediate, like ‘I want to attend Nathalie’s wedding‘. I have also chosen the beautiful song ‘Ends of the Earth’ by Lord Huron as my personal anthem for this year.

These wishes and this song will guide and accompany me. However, there was something still missing. A direction. Something to strive for, to go towards. Then I remembered that author Lynn Viehl, who blogs at Paperback Writer, sets herself themes for each year. I thought about what this could mean for me and I had two words in my head that I was experimenting with and had almost decided for one, when courage came along.

cour·age (n)

1.  the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.

definition from

Courage and bravery are often used synonymously, but they aren’t the same when you think about it. I’d even argue that bravery is a result of courage. So I looked it up in an etymology dictionary and got the following:

courage (n.) c.1300, from Old French corage (12c., Modern French courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor “heart” (see heart) which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.

In Middle English, used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced Old English ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”

definition from the Online Etymology Dictionary

Isn’t that a wonderful word? Inner strength, heart, confidence, lustiness, pride – all part of this one concept: expressing what is in your mind or thoughts. I don’t know what triggered me to think of courage in the first place, but since I have, I see it everywhere. It pops up in blog posts, in video talks, in discussions with friends, in old diary entries. I think it’s a sign. So I’m adopting courage as my theme of the year.

And because I like to be thorough in these things, I also looked it up in a thesaurus and while some of the synonyms were a little contrived, there were a lot that I really like – amongst them words like boldness, adventurousness, audacity, daring, determination, endurance, enterprise, fortitude, intrepidity, mettle, pluck, resolution, spirit, tenacity and élan.

So 2013 will be the year of courage – a year full of intrepid enterprise, determined resolution and bold adventures. I know it will be – because I’m going to make it so!


Do you write resolutions? Or choose themes? Or maybe an anthem? Or is all of this new-year-new-beginning thing a nuisance and unnecessary anyway?


About wordsurfer

writer, ex-teacher, human rights believer & fighter, traveller, adventure-seeker, freedom lover, global citizen. big on daydreams, less so on reality.

Posted on January 6, 2013, in day-to-day, surfing language and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I love learning about words too. I wrote a blog about being single and my favorite part of the whole thing was the last sentence, where I learned that single is derived from Latin as “simple”. Our language puts so many negative and positive connotations on words they often get lost in translation…btw I didn’t approve the comment bc I knew it was just a typo, but then you corrected it and it turned out to be a pretty funny one. Great idea for a blog!

    • From simple? Wow. All kinds of conclusions to be drawn there… Me, I like the simple life… Have you ever read Bridget Jones (by Helen Fielding, the book that was made into the movie)? They talk about being singles a lot and Bridget’s radically feminist friend Sharon invents a new word for it and calls them Singletons. To make a statement to all the smug-marrieds of their acquaintance. 🙂
      And yeah, I love knowing where words come from, how popular phrases developed and the connotations we have with certain words that result in them being used in a different way from their actual meaning… Language can be quite fascinating like that.

      • Agreed. I studied Tennessee Williams in my acting class. We looked up every word in out monologue because he was so particular with language. We needed to learn what he was saying verses what the culture at the time interpreted the words to be. I haven’t read the book, but I do love the movie. I’ll have to check it out.

        • The book is much funnier than the movie (although I do like the movie was well)!
          I think it’s cool that you delved this much into the words of TW, it probably gave you a much deeper understanding of the play. I had an English professor once who went though Macbeth with us in detail and it was fantastic. I learned so much!

          • Oh man, I miss those classes. It’s funny how excited you can get over doing something like that. I will forever hold my High School English teacher in my heart. You kind of have to laugh at how just that lesson made so much an impact that you mentioned it to me, I’m guessing some years later, and I completely understand what you got from that memory.

  2. Your cards are really lovely. Make sure to keep them with you at all times, and I hope your courage never fails you. 🙂

    I don’t like to make resolutions, but I do have goals for this year – publish at least one more book, save money and get married… in that order!

  3. Love the cards–inspirational and beautiful!


  4. Anna Scott Graham

    So intriguing you bring up this particular word; a writer-friend offered courage and determination as part of her resolution, and I was so taken by her thoughts that very soon I’ll be writing a post about those themes. Very nice to see I’m not along in taking up courage for 2013. A wonderful post, and I just love your cards! I’m a colour junkie, as well as finding the sentiments spectacular. Well, all but the camping. I’m not really a camper, per se. 🙂

    • That’s really cool. Like I said, since I stared focusing on the word, it starts turning up everywhere! I’m looking forward to your post.
      And about the cards – everything looks better with colours, doesn’t it? 🙂

  5. Ooooo I love this. Courage, a theme, wow! I really like your ideas. In fact, I just wish I had thought of them. They are so unifying. I stopped by to say that I am so happy that you visited my website. I’d like to invite you back again when you can stay longer, and I plan on following your blog, so I can remember to sneak back over here, and steal – ops read, your wonderful ideas. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome to … “read” anything I write. 😉
      I’m following you, I love how enthusiastic you are about being a teacher. Reminds me of the good things about that job, although I’m very glad not to be in school anymore on the whole.

      • I’m actually not in school either. I retired in August. 🙂 I felt a real affinity for what you wrote, though – even though our ages are SO far apart!!! 🙂

        • Congratulations! (on the retirement) When my Dad retired from teaching, my parents went to travel around Morocco for six weeks and dawdled along to road to go hiking in Spain. The next summer they spent in France, to watch the lavender in Provence and do some more hiking in the mountains, and at the moment they are on a backpacking trip to Asia and Australia. My conclusion? Retirement rocks. 🙂

  6. Gorgeous post, Surfer.
    To Courage!
    And beauty surrounding us all.

  7. Hello, my friend! I have nominated you for a blogging award. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Courage and determination « Anna Scott Graham, Indie Novelist

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