I love words. I'm a writer after all. Sometimes I love the shape of certain words, how they appear in written or printed format. Sometimes I love how they sound and feel in my mouth. Sometimes it's the meaning of the word that makes a lot of sense to me.
I've tried several words in the past. Gratitude. Wisdom. Inner worth. None of them have really stuck. None of them have fit well.
But this year I've managed to find a word that has already been helping me stay sane through the ups and downs of life.
The word is: EPHEMERAL.
Ephemeral. Ooh, how I love the way the 'f', 'm', 'r' and 'l' sounds all follow one another so quickly, rolling and tumbling into the preceding sound swiftly enough to create this beautiful word.
But equally importantly, I love the meaning of the word. It's such a great reminder that life is fleeting, life is transitory. We are all here for what is literally a blink of an eye for the cosmos. Our lifespans of 70/80/90 years, whatever we are blessed with, however long we are lucky to have, are really a blip in time if we pause to look at it.
Remembering that helps put so many things in perspective.
It reminds me of how valuable this day is.
It also reminds me that in the larger scheme of things, it won't matter if I spent this day achieving something or not; what matters (to me) is whether or not I moved through this day with gentleness and wisdom, whether I've been a source of solace and comfort or a reason for stress and consternation to myself and the loved ones I'm with.
It reminds me, whenever envy arises, that I'm doing my best and that every one of us had different paths to purse in this lifetime. As long as I show up each day and do the best I can in that given day, I am succeeding.
It reminds me that the past and the future do not matter in this present moment. The present moment is all there is.
If I'm geared up, I can plough on and add more words to the manuscript and make plans for the future so that I can look forward to it optimistically. If I'm struggling, I can pause and rest. It won't bring my writing career crashing down.
I can trust that the pace at which I'm moving is just right for me. There is no urgency. There is no falling behind.
It reminds me, when I feel I'm not able to accomplish things fast enough, when I feel overwhelmed about putting in all this hard work day after day, year after year, for the next several years, that that time will also go in the blink of an eye.
It reminds me, whenever I'm feeling low or in doubt, that this feeling too will pass and that I'd do well to be kind and gentle to myself in this phase, so that when it passes I'll be roaring to go again!
Everything is ephemeral. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is life-altering, except death.
It reminds me of YOLO - you only live once. But that doesn't mean we have to do everything in this one single lifetime. Living a good life is as much about letting go of what doesn't serve us as it is about focusing on what matters to us in our lives, what matters on a daily basis.
For me, the answers are clear: writing, reading, being with KrA and D, responding with care and kindness to those who reach out to me, including myself, and remembering how fleeting all this is.
So that I'm not caught up in the grief of what's lost or what's not mine but can rejoice in what I have, in what dreams are waiting to come true for me, without clinging to anything.
So that's my word of wisdom for next year. Ephemeral.