Popular Words Are the Key to Understanding

What kind of a psychic would I be if I didn't predict something for the New Year? So, here goes -10  popular words and phrases for 2009.  They are in random order. Not all of them are in the dictionary - at least, not  yet.   I see these words, or their synonyms, growing more and more familiar. Right now, during the waning moments of 2008,  these words offer a glimpse of the challenges we face in the year ahead. These are my key words for 2009.

1. Pay-back. This is a word that has two meanings; one of them positive, as in a reward; one of them negative, as in retribution or karma. Double-meaning words, like pay-back, will be quite popular in 2009, not only because they are two-for-ones, but also because they relate to some of the burning questions we will be asking in 2009: When is a bargain truly a bargain? When will we know if we've hit bottom? Who can we really trust? I could go on and on with how often this word/term is going to be used in 2009, as more corporate/political scandals are revealed and fat cats learn they must diet like the rest of us. I like this word/term so much, I am going to start using it as often as I can. When something good happens to someone, I will nod my head and say, "Wow - what a pay-back!"  Conversely, when a black hat gets unmasked, I will shrug my shoulders and quip, "Well, there's a pay-back for you!". 2009 will be a lot about the white hats vs. the black hats and scandals revealed.

2. Low-Flyer. This is the direct opposite of high-flyer, a term used most often to indicate big investors in the stock market or those who display their wealth conspicuously. Since luxury, as a fashion statement, is now so over (see luxury Holiday retail sales huge decline), high flyers will soon disappear off the popular culture radar, to be replaced immediately by low-flyers. Low-flyers or Lo-Flos, as I call them,  eschew (disdain) all forms of pretension. More Hyundai than Hummer; more Value Village than Vuitton, low-flyers stay well under the radar. They hate the spotlight, but they will campaign actively to support their beliefs. They will lead the march to conserve, to save and to begin correcting (see #3 word below)  the terrific harm done to our planet and to our lives by some of the high-flyers. Lo-flos'  Levis may come from the thrift store, but their passion to right the wrongs can not be priced. They are 1960-70s redux. 3. Correction. This word is going to be more and more popular, as we move, as a united group, towards fixing at least some of our common problems. Correction can be used in many ways. It can describe the continuing up-down, down-up stock market. but, early in 2009, it will also be used by politicians and cash-strapped businesses seeking bail-out money from Congress, as they explain their previous mistakes. To be perfectly correct, "correction" hasn't been widely used since Liquid Erase disappeared.  But the word "correction" will now become more popular, as business CEOs and government leaders attempt to explain what changes they are making or are being forced to make to stay afloat and in office.

4. Touch. This is my favorite upcoming popular word. Look for it as part of the phrases "in touch," and "out of touch" and, also, as "touching".  Now, more than ever, in 2009 and beyond, we are staying in touch with our family, our friends We also are going inward to re-evaluate our goals and our lives (in touch within). A rough economy and troubled waters aren't all negative. Tough times bring people together and also help us refocus. Many of us spend long hours at the computer. We have lost some of our human touch. In 2009, we will work harder on maintaining and creating new personal relationships.Being in touch will provide comfort.

5. Sacrifice. You probably knew this was coming. It means some of us will have to go without during 2009. Anything from giving up our morning vente latte to choosing to finance braces for our child over going on a dream vacation. Sacrifice involves making choices - and we will make a number of choices in 2009. Some choices may be forced on us; others will be voluntary. I'm not a big fan of this word, but I do see it  in big letters early in 2009. I already hear the government officials repeating it.  This word use will be a direct result of the economic melt-down,  especially as schools, cities and states struggle to provide services in a cash-strapped economy. 6. Solution. Another double-meaning word. This word can refer to liquid in test-tube or the answer to a problem.  "Do you have a solution?" might be one of the most often-asked questions in 2009. Coming up with a solution will be another widely-used phrase. The term "solution" might derive directly from the use of the words sacrifice and correction, since answers to many economic problems will involve both. I like this word because it implies a positive outcome. Problem-solvers will be the new super-heroes in 2009.

7. Work-Out. Yet another double-meaning word -both as an exercise program and/or as a "solution" to a knotty business dispute. This word/term is going to be used a lot in discussions about our troubled economy and the many problems it has spawned. I think it also  has huge implications for relationships. If you are on the verge of divorce or a break-up, there is always the possibility of a positive "work-out." This word is another positive noun - implying a compromise solution to a problem. More importantly, it means not giving up or giving in. As the Beatles sang, "We can work it out."

8. Revelation. Not the biblical word, but a word to describe the big news stories coming soon. By in large, the media has been asleep at the wheel during the past decade.  But a new government, with an expressed mission to tell the truth, will motivate journalists to lift the veil and to finally report on brewing corruptions and scandal. There will be many important revelations in 2009. Watch for more big headlines on political and business corruption. Any journalist worth his or her salt is already digging for the truth. I predict some great muckraking journalism coming from America's heartland media - in the footsteps of Woodward and Bernstein. It's about time. 9. Brilliance. It's going to take a whole lot of brain power (i.e brilliance) to solve some of the pressing problems facing our Country. But the word "brilliance" also relates to the white light of truth we are about to encounter. This is one of the more positive words I see ahead in 2009. Huge problems demand brilliant solutions. Look for young geniuses to emerge as they help solve some of our problems. Experience and age will not be a factor; thinking outside of the box will be invaluable.

10. Confidence. This is a word that will be over-used during 2009. I already hear it several times a day, and it's still 2008.  "Confidence" is being touted as the cure to the Country's business (stores and auto industry) woes. "If the public has confidence, they will buy" the politicians and pundits say...But the word has a deeper meaning when applied to our individual desires and dreams. Confidence in our talents and skills can make the difference between succeeding or failing at a new job. Rekindle your dreams in 2009, and move forward with confidence. There are many more opportunities out there than you imagine - new niches to fill; services to provide, businesses to create. Trend Analysis: More key words will crop up 2009 progresses, but these are the dominant words for now.  They reflect my general feelings about the coming year: 2009, as I see it, will be difficult, and sometimes dark, but ultimately ringed in honesty. We are all hearty enough to survive and to surmount the challenges 2009 will hand us. This will not be an easy year for many, but certainly meaningful and enlightening for all. Published December, 2008.

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Mark Cruz
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Posted on Mar 12, 2012