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Word of the Year Wallpaper App

| written by Taryn Wallis | 9 comments


It’s been a rather, um, interesting year so far. And by interesting, I mean in the sense of that delightful Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times”.

I started 2014 feeling incredibly positive about what the year would bring; just over four months in and I’m still a bit in shock at the Lemony Snicket-like series of unfortunate events that have challenged me in ways I did not expect. A few times, I’ve felt a kind of paranoia start creeping in, convinced that I had a big ol’ target on my head. As I’ve struggled through grief, conflict, and loss, the universe hasn’t felt very loving lately. Ironic, then, that the word I chose to guide my year was love.

I first encountered the idea of choosing a word of the year while reading Christine Kane’s blog, and 2014 marks my seventh year of following this practice. I chose love specifically because I felt that I’d been resisting much of my experience. I wanted to be more present, engage fully with life, trust in the universe’s guidance, and practice loving what is. I toyed with words like grace and surrender, but the more active nature of love ultimately best summed up what I wanted to focus on.

In the midst of tears, I have wondered whether I shouldn’t have chosen an easier word for the year, like, I don’t know, maybe fun, or joy? I’ve wondered if I should change my word, though I know in my heart I’d be doing that from a place of fear, and that love and I aren’t quite done with each other yet. Even though the last three months have been difficult in many ways, I can now see that I’ve had what amounts to a crash course in love in its most profound human and divine sense. I’ve learned that sometimes the most loving decision isn’t the easiest. I’ve learned about expressing love for others and myself through both selflessness and selfishness, about the gentle and fierce faces of love, and how to give and accept loving support.

Towards the beginning of the year, when things were still going fairly smoothly, I started working on an Android app that would allow me to display my word of the year as my phone’s wallpaper as a way of helping me to keep my word in my awareness. I hadn’t anticipated just how bittersweet the moment would be when I finally used the newly released app to set my wallpaper. The app displays the word on a background of a photo from the phone’s gallery, and I chose a photo with a great deal of personal meaning, a poignant reminder of what love really means.

If you have an Android phone, and would like to display your word of the year as your wallpaper, the app is available in the Play Store. The wallpaper that it creates is fixed in place, overcoming Android’s propensity to stretch static images across multiple home screens or scroll the image as you swipe between screens. You can change the font, size, color and placement of your word (via drag and drop) to best suit the background on which you’d like to display it. The app is currently only available for Android, though the plan is to release an iOS version later this year. 

While I hope that your year so far has been somewhat less “interesting” than mine, I hope too that the app is useful to you on your journey with your chosen word, whatever the experience so far has been. The app gives you the option to share your wallpaper via social media; if you choose to do this, I’d love to see what you’ve created!

Photo credit: JM Scott (Flickr)

Taryn Wallis is a South African now living in a small country village just outside Edinburgh, Scotland. She runs a business called Phenomenoodle specializing in WordPress and Android development, as well as writes about her favourite things on TSWzine, an online magazine covering music, vegetarian food, wine, whisk(e)y, travel, running, and books. Connect with Taryn on Twitter at @phenomenoodle and @tswzine.


Alison Lam: Somehow I feel comforted knowing how you are struggling with your life and your word for the year... It's nice knowing you're not alone. I chose the word Risk for the year and I have taken risks. Big risks. And made decisions that have surprised both myself and others. But the fruit of those risks have brought some good, but also some really major disappointments and let downs and it's almost more painful to walk out the fruit of the risks than before I took them. It hasn't (yet... so far...) been a full year of risks so the jury's still out on how I will look back on this year... I'm a little weary. Month 5. More risks? Ahhh.... My heart needs a little rest. Anyway, even though I wish your year was a little sweeter than you have described it as so far, I do somehow want to thank you for just being honest and for being IN the struggle and the wrestle of life, even when it seems paradoxical and perplexing and seemingly going in the direction away from anything you ever wishes when you came up with your word at the start of the year. Bless you with grace. Reply

    Taryn: I'm really touched by your comment, Alison - thank you. It sounds like your year has been very challenging so far, and I can see tremendous courage in you for choosing the word Risk and for meeting it head on. Reply

haruun: Wants up sotrgirty Reply

Amy Young: Taryn, I LOVE (wink) this ... not that it's been hard, but the app and the process. I host a monthly "oneword365" link up (the next one will be from 5/20 - 5/27) and would love to have you pop by http://messymiddle.com and link this up. I love for more folks to hear about the app and to meet you. Reply

    Taryn: Thank you, Amy! And thanks for the link up invitation too - I'll definitely pop along! Reply

Amy Young: Fyi ... the link-up is now live and can be found at http://www.messymiddle.com/trust-and-roller-coasters Reply

    Taryn: Thanks Amy - link added! Reply

Juliet: Taryn, thanks for sharing the app and your story at Amy's wonderful linkup. Sounds like you're having a challenging time with rather more sadness and loss than any of us would like. Love is a powerful thing though and clinging to it, as you are, will keep you going. And I'm going to try out the app! Thank you for that. Reply

Taryn: Thank you for the kind words, Juliet - I'm hanging in there and trying to embrace it all :) I hope you enjoy the app! Reply

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