Normally I would have rolled my eyes at such a word, thinking it too trite, like a home decor sign that says, “Dance like nobody is watching.” Such a saying was clever enough to begin with, but now it’s just cliche. I looked at the word in front of me and considered rejecting it outright. I was using Jen Fulwiler’s Word of the Year generator. For those unfamiliar, it is a simple website that randomly picks a word of the year for its users, a word that is to serve as a theme or focal point for one’s year. In 2020 I chose my own word: detachment. It was kind of a hardcore word that ended up being very appropriate for 2020. This year though, I didn’t really have a strong pull to any word or theme, so I used the word generator. My word? Blossom. It sounded like the kind of word a middle-aged woman who is deeply unhappy about her life would choose at the start of her mid-life crisis. But then I considered that ‘Blossom’ seemed to be a great word to follow ‘Detachment’. After all, we do not seek detachment for itself, but in order to clear space for new growth.
I also thought about how I recently bought an online course on herbalism that I plan to start soon, and I’ve been imagining my 2021 living like St. Hildegard of Bingen, nearly cloistered in my home studying plants and making my own herbal remedies for common ailments. The word also seemed to support my desire to immerse myself in the real, as opposed to being immersed in the virtual. I want to make more time to nurture in-real-life friendships, spend more time praying, baking, reading books — both fiction and non — and also reading poetry, playing board games, spending time in nature, and puttering in my house. If anything will save our world, I’m sure it is real-life connections and being rooted in the Divine stream, not media consumption, doomscrolling, and internet fights. I don’t know what joys and challenges 2021 has in store for me, but I figure a flower can bloom in a pristine forest as well as from a crack in a field of concrete.
Do you have any plans, goals, or a word for 2021? What will you be doing to nurture yourself?
“They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8)
St Joseph edition ofthe New American Bible Revised Edition. (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Corp, 1970).