My Word of the Year

Katie Spirit, Writing Leave a Comment


Definition of DECIDUOUS

1: falling off or shed seasonally or at a certain stage of development in the life cycle <deciduous leaves><deciduous scales>


a : having deciduous parts <maples, birches, and other deciduous trees> b : having the dominant plants deciduous <a deciduous forest>


— de·cid·u·ous·ness noun Examples of DECIDUOUS
  1. the bare branches of a deciduous tree in winter
  2. he chose not to fret about the deciduous discomforts of his existence


Latin deciduus, from decidere to fall off, from de- + cadereto fall — more at chance

First Known Use: 1688

Related to DECIDUOUS

Synonyms: briefmomentaryephemeralevanescent,flashfleetingfugaciousfugitiveimpermanentpassing,short-livedtemporarytransienttransitory

Antonyms: ceaselessdatelessdeathlessendless,enduringeternaleverlastingimmortallastinglong-lived,permanentperpetualtimelessundyingunending

Right before Christmas, I was invited to participate in an event on Facebook. The event was entitled “Word of the Year.”

The invitation read:

“Pick a word, any word. It can be a noun, a verb, adjective, adverb… go crazy. The only hard and fast ‘rule’ is it has to be a single, actual, word. Find a word that holds significance for you. It could relate to what you want to do, where or how you want to be, or something you want more or less of in your life in 2013. It’s not so much about making goals as much as it’s about setting intention. Think of the different meanings, the obvious and not so obvious. It’s fun to look it up and see what Webster’s has to say about it. And… that’s it.”

People chose words. Words included: courage, forward, moderation, causation, balance, perseverance, acceptance, fearless, release, fortitude, verve, achieve, fulfill, joy, nurture, simplify, steady, connect, strive, completion, balance, play, clear, well-being, and purpose. Some people chose to include an explanation for their word choice, others did not. Some people simply cut and pasted the dictionary definition of their word, others summarized the definition. Chosen words spoke of things people wanted more of in 2013. Chosen words spoke of individual values and priorities. Chosen words spoke of personal commitment. It was easy to understand each word choice, with or without an explanation. Choices just seemed to make sense.

I chose the word deciduous.

Deciduous was my word of the year for several reasons. (I took a metaphoric approach to the exercise.) I pay attention to nature. Though I live in a city, I make my way outdoors as much as I can. It is important for me to feel sunshine. I primarily get outdoors when I run. I have noticed the trees along my running route. I have chosen favorite trees. I have taken pictures of the changes each season brings to my trees. There is something healthy, strong, and natural when the leaves fall. Shedding leaves is part of the natural order. What remains a part of the tree is only what is vital to its life. When it is time, new leaves form and the life of the tree continues in its fullness. The cycle continues. (I truly understand why the third definition of of deciduous is ephemeral.) I want to live strong and healthy like my trees this year. I want to keep the parts of me that are vital and healthy, and leave unhealthy habits and thoughts behind.

Choosing a word felt different than simply making a resolution. Choosing a word felt more like stating a mission or claiming a personal philosophy. As the directions in the invitation suggest, it was about setting an intention. In choosing my word, I was setting my course. It has been interesting to note how many times I have found myself using the word deciduous in everyday conversation.

If you were going to choose a word, what would it be? 


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