The One That Suits Me Best

December 9, 2009
By Anonymous

English is a stew comprised of several million words, ingredients borrowed from every source, peppered with Latin, salted with Germanic tongues; its very character developed from the weary mouths of immigrants, from cultural influences washed and warped, from societal input, and from mispronunciation. I can’t profess to know of all these many words, but of the few thousand I do, my favorite is the word ephemeral, an adjective signifying anything “lasting for a markedly brief time”.

Few other words can describe so much in only 9 letters, mainly because the quality of being transient is one present in all things. When I think of the word though, I don’t automatically think of the fleeting presence of everything. Being short lived doesn’t have to be a negative quality; rather, I believe the word ephemeral represents change more than death, and the representation of that change is what makes the word so appealing.

I discovered the word in middle school, which, as everyone knows, is a time of constant development, regression, and discord. At the time I found the word, my sentiments toward my fellow classmates and toward my life as it was were entirely negative, and though it had a different meaning for me then, it stuck and its meaning evolved as I progressed through middle school into high school and through young adolescence into young adulthood. At first ephemeral struck me as a wonderfully dreadful word, a word to use to sound “deep” and melancholy, a word that I would inject into regular middle school conversation simply for the awed glances it brought about and for the futility of life that it implied.
After using the word for several years, I found as a sophomore in high school, the word no longer extended to render all existence useless and I found the more I used it, the more I came to realize that it no longer had a negative connotation. Now, in my senior year of high school, I see the beauty of it, the change that it brings to mind when I think about the word. For me, the word ephemeral is like the definition of nature itself, and since nature is endlessly changing, there is death, but only in the cycle of the creation of new life. This positive spin on the word so dear to me helped me combat my negative stand on life, and replace unreasonably “world weary” cynicism with fresh optimism, allowing me to grow in ways I did not believe possible.
My favorite word is not one I’ve claimed as my favorite because of the way it sounds or its close proximity to my name, but one that I found and whose meaning I altered to fit a progressing me, and one I will continue to use within my constant and ephemeral states of change.

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