I spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen, so when I think of the word zest, my first thought goes to the kind you would find there: lemon, orange or lime zest. They each bring such color and unique spark to a dish. That additional touch of flavor creates more interest to your recipe, and like most herbs and spices, a little goes a long way. I love them all!
This, as you know, is only one meaning of the word. A second is about gusto and an enjoyably exciting quality, a deep, hearty relishing. Yet a third is about liveliness and energy and an animating spirit. It is the realm of these two definitions that I want to consider here. Zest is one of the many words known as onomatopoeia – a term you most likely learned in grade school but may have forgotten. An onomatopoeia is a word that when said out loud, is naturally suggestive of its meaning. Sometime it imitates the sound of its definition. As a linguistic device, it’s been used by many a great writer. Here’s a few more: Puff – Fizz – Plink – Sizzle – Cacophony, all great onomatopoeias. Think about this as you say them out loud, and now say Zzzzzzzzzzzzzest!!! Obviously more Z’s were added for emphasis, but they help illustrate my point. Can you say zest and not feel something? For a little word, it’s packing quite the punch. It’s got guts and gusto! There’s energy and enthusiasm! It’s alive and sassy!
Could your life use a little infusion of zest? How can we give it and how can we get it? I think of the axiom “Live every day as if it’s your last.” When you re-frame life in this manner, it should be easy to see where you can bring zest, and where you can give it. What conversations need it? What relationships desire it most? What situations could benefit? And then we practice, one day at a time, because we don’t know when it might be our last.
ZEST…I don’t know about you, but I want more of that.