I told Shelly that I wasn’t choosing a word for the year. That I never had. That I never would.

Part of it is simple rebellion. I get sort of sick to my stomach when I see people choosing words like “love” and “hope.” It makes me want to choose some other word with four letters to mark the year.

Another part is what I wrote to Shelly, that each year usually starts with one simple cry, albeit in different circumstances: How long, O Lord?

But during the last week of 2012, we went to Colorado, meaning I went hiking in the snow, meaning I had a revelation, as always happens when I hike in the snow.

Here’s what happened. I got on the wrong trail with the wrong equipment. I was wearing hiking boots and microspikes and was supposed to stay on the snowshoe trails. I’d never done those trails in that particular area, so I got turned around and walked on the cross-country ski trails instead. Well, I got busted.

Mr. Nordic Man was very polite, but he firmly redirected me to the proper trail. I knew sort-of-kind-of how to get back to my cabin, but it was longer and uphill. I was mad.

That’s when it hit me: You are no longer in charge.

I could have chosen to ignore this bit of revelation, since it’s a phrase and not a nice, neat word. But, oh, it fits. It fits like that damn slipper on Cinderella’s foot.

The worst part is that I didn’t realize I was in charge at all. Apparently I had great power and great responsibility and let it slip away, like the snow that’s now 1,000 miles away.

So Shelly, that’s my word (my six words) for the year. It’s not all bad news. Whatever happens in 2013, it’s not my fault. I’m no longer in charge.