ey, it is time to get those New Year’s resolutions written down and start changing ourselves for the better!

Am I the only one who makes the same resolutions every year and within weeks I realize I haven’t followed through or maybe even forgotten what I wrote down? It is good to take stock of our lives and our goals, and to make new goals as goals are achieved. It is also hard to follow through when we make too large of a goal without breaking it down into achievable segments.

So, this year I’m going to try some different strategies. I decided I would work on some grammar problems I have and some words that I feel we use that are really unnecessary. This goal is not to change the world but to make me more aware of vocabulary!

It seems like every year there are new words that are put into the dictionary because of the heavy use of them. I wonder if anyone has ever considered eliminating some words from the dictionary. One word I would like to eliminate from our language is “just.”

Do we overuse the word just? You often hear women say, “I’m just a mother; I’m just a wife.” There is no reason for the word in those remarks. Men will say, “I’m just a janitor or in agriculture we hear “I’m just a farmer/rancher.” And when it is used, is it usually in a negative way? “He’s just a …..” “I’m just a …” Notice how those sentence can be changed from negative to positive by eliminating the word just.

Of course, there are times that just is used to emphasize something, such as, “He looks just like his father;” “She sounds just like her mother.” These are not necessary but can add emphasis on what is being said. Again, they can be negative but in this case it can be positive too.

I have a couple of examples of people using just in a negative way:

Vince Scully is best known for his 67 seasons calling games for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning in 1950 (when the franchise was located in Brooklyn) and ending in 2016. His run constitutes the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history. He retired at age 88 in 2016, ending his record-breaking run as their play-by-play announcer. He was ranked No. 1 by the American Sportscasters Association in its list of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All-Time (January 2009). On Oct. 2, 2016, Scully called his last baseball game, capping a 67 year career as the voice of the Dodgers, having called his first game for them on April 18, 1950, when he was only 22 years old.

When Scully was recognized at a baseball game at the time of his retirement, his first comment as the crowd gave him a resounding standing ovation, was: “Ah, come on guys, it’s just me.” Yes, a humble comment, but a diminishing one. Vince Scully was not “just me” but a person who had earned and awarded many awards for his work. He was inducted into the Fordham University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1977.

In the book The Letter by Richard Paul Evans, the young boy LeRoy is explaining why his father isn’t as good as other boy’s fathers. The person he is talking to replies: “Your father’s not ‘just’ a farmer. He’s not ‘just’ anything. A man’s worth isn’t measured by a bank register or a diploma, LeRoy. It’s integrity. You remember that.”

Yes, that is something we all need to remember. Not one of us is “just” anything! or even “just me.” We are all important in our own spheres. We shouldn’t diminish ourselves our self-worth by using the word just to describe what we do and who we are. We need to take the negative just out of our commonly used vocabulary.

We have new words added to our dictionary every year, but I can’t remember any words being deleted because they were unnecessary. I personally think this is one word that fits into the category of a word that could be eliminated and probably wouldn’t be missed.

So my main New Year’s resolution is to eliminate just from my vocabulary and any communication I have. We will see how well I can follow through with this.

Jean Schwieder is a writer who has spent her life involved in eastern Idaho agriculture. Her books, including past columns, are available by calling 208-522-8098 or by email at straddlin thefence@gmail.com.

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