Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seasons of Change

There is something magical about the first days of spring. The daffodils make the thought of winter seem like nothing but a lost memory, and the sunshine is a warm reminder of good things to come in the months ahead.  Inhaling the warm spring breeze, is as intoxicating as a weekend night during your college days. People pour out of their houses and any nook and cranny that they have been hibernating in. There is laughter, smiles, and an energy that is palpable. Yet despite the beauty of the moment, I still can't help but wonder what the months to come have in store. Why is that I have such a hard time enjoying the now, are we not always thinking and planning for the future?

There is this fabulous magnolia tree that I have run by every day this week. It actually has become the highlight of my runs. Each day I observe its new buds and blossoms. The tree's white flowers have this antiquated elegance which mesmerizes me.  It is a constant reminder of strength and resilience. It has survived the cold and bitter winter and in the mean time has still managed to maintain its beautiful composure. I sometimes wonder if the many storms I weather, the disappointments and sorrows, will still allow me to emerge as pristine and put together as my magnolia.

The thing that I keep reminding myself is that life is beautiful. I have been given this small amount of time  to run the gamut of emotions- to feel, to love, to be disappointed, to be heartbroken, to be passionate, and to just live. While my mind is constantly racing about what I need to do this week, next month, and a year from now, I have realized that there is something so serene and fulfilling about the here and now. The people I surround myself with are intimate players in this moment. They are my partners in crime and the co-authors of many memorable nights to come. I often wish my friends could see themselves the way I do, because if they did they would see just how gorgeous they were and realize that many of their worries about the future are unnecessary.

Thus in the weeks to come I encourage you, to take in the now. Take in the daffodils, the tulips, and the magnolia. Breathe deeply and have faith that just as the magnolia survives each brutal winter, so will you . 


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dabbling with Danger

  When I was little I had this affinity for all things that were sharp, flammable, and potentially caustic. My little brown curly top head would run around sticking forks, pencils, and all sorts of paraphernalia into the light sockets. It's no wonder my mother was such a worried woman as she chased me around the house with the fly swatter, her favorite tool of discipline. I can hear her repeating words like "Don't talk to strangers and left, right, left when crossing the street." Yet, despite her constant reminders I was determined to walk on the wild side. I believe that I found satisfaction and comfort in knowing I was under the careful eyes of my parents; that despite what catastrophe or minor injury I might find myself in my mom and dad would be there to swoop me up, wipe my tears, and make it all better. Yet, the problem with this is as I have gotten older I have noticed adult life does not come with caution signs or black box warning labels.  We have been forced to enter at our own risk.

Perhaps this is part of the beauty of life; learning to recover from the hurts that we incur over time.  Growing up as a pudgy kid, I will never forget the torment I experienced at school or on the school bus.  Come to think of it, school buses are bright yellow, I should have recognized this huge Twinkie- like structure as a giant caution sign. Because as far as my childhood goes, the school bus served as one of those places where many tears were shed and life lessons were learned. Santa was destroyed and my hair bows were a constant topic of ridicule.  But through all the tears I would like to believe that I emerged from the yellow bus of terror a stronger and more courageous soul.

The difference between back then and now is that we knowingly place ourselves in danger.  It happens everyday.  We constantly are entering situations that could potentially cause injury or harm.  We get in our car everyday with the hope that we will arrive home safely. We make decisions at work that could jeopardize our future. We enter relationships knowing that they don't always work out. Yet, the problem is we have read the warning labels, but we have decided that we are willing to throw the dice and see how our luck fares.  We dance with disappointment daily, but I believe it is the way that we deal with our heavy blows that makes us ready for any duel.

I willingly admit that I would avoid pain and injury at any cost. I would wear elbow and knee pads out in public if I could convince others that it was fashionable. Yet, perhaps even more honestly, I have placed parts of my heart in a witness protection program. I have kept a part of myself incognito and locked away as a type of self-preservation, in the hopes that I will never experience  pain or disappointment.  Yet, what I have learned over the last couple of months is that this is no way to live.  Placing your heart on the table is terrifying. It's like riding your bike around naked in a large crowd. You are vulnerable and nervous, but there is something liberating about the experience. 

In the end what I have learned is that while placing the pieces of myself out in public view has caused me some pain and disappointment, I have no regrets. I am glad that I disregarded the warning labels and that I have been willing to take a chance. Because the truth of the matter is life is a lot like learning how to ride a bike-  dangerous, exciting, a lot about balance, and learning how to fall.  The stinging of your hands and knees from the fall are reminders that you are human. Your only option at this point is to peel yourself off the ground, brush yourself off, get back on the bike, and try again.