Sunday, May 20, 2018

Arrested Development

I have always thought that my main responsibility is to wake everyday and be an adult.  I mean, I have always thought that.  Right or wrong - the belief is that everyone should do that - be an adult - everyday - all day.  If you were born into our household, this is what was expected, even at early ages.  All of my conscious memory is routed in this belief.

There isn't much to be done about aging into adulthood.  Once there chronologically - you're there.  Poof - 21 and childhood is gone.  It is rare to have the full evolution into adult-like behavior coincide with one's twenty-first birthday.  Most people who have aged into adulthood don't act like adults.  And there is the group who exhibited the traits of respect, maturity, empathy, and wisdom long before the landmark passing of the first two decades.

A staunch adherence to this way of living as an adult is conflicting . All these years later I question:
  • Does responsibility stifle creativity?
  • Why does relaxation make some of us tense?
  • Is play okay if the work is never done?
  • What is too serious?
  • Could the pursuit of happiness ever be as fulfilling as pursuit of mission?
BUT, on the other hand, if you inhabit the large population of those who refuse to participate in adulthood, listen up:
  • There are other people in the world.  Try to consider your impact on those around you rather than thinking only of yourself.
  • Your own happiness should not be gained at the expense of others' happiness.
  • Theaters were created for drama,  Back to the theaters, all drama queens!
  • Listen, practice patience, and respect people.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
As for the consideration of emotional adulthood - for those who achieve it long before their age catches up and for those who never achieve it - it is not clear whether there is a right way or a wrong way to live life.  Perhaps there is not a perfect balance of adult and child - not a perfect timing for growing up.  Those who inhabit either group must admit to some aspects of arrested development - making life a little more difficult for all of us.  Whether you need to lighten up or tighten up, it may be wise to work on tolerance. Don't allow your own brand of arrested development to keep you from a shared joy in your daily life. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just Be the Daffodil

Over the last few weeks, I decided to set a new aspirational goal for myself.  Just be the daffodil.  On the surface it appears I have lost my mind, but the goal represents something of a challenge (other than my size and color). Here's why:

The weather this Spring has brought us tornado-force winds, record rains, and 26 inches of snow in a 30 hour period of time.  The snow arrived one week after the wind and one week later the snow was completely melted.  In the aftermath of the bad weather, clean-up was finally started, but would continue over the months to come.  The wind damage was extensive.  Downed trees with root balls standing 5 feet were everywhere.  Cut-up branches, trunks, and twigs were stacked along the roads and fallen trees and branches still litter backyards and woods.

One morning on my daily drive to work through an old golf course, I saw one of the root balls upended near the road with large pieces of trunk cut and stacked near the roots.  The ground was pitted from the tree falling, piles of earth surrounded the area.  But there in the middle of all of it - standing tall, yellow and green clumps of daffodils brightened the scene - as if they had easily popped though into a carefully landscaped garden. But they hadn't.  They had somehow survived the wind-toppled maples, the too-soft, saturated ground rearranged into piles and holes.  They survived the humans who were cleaning the area with heavy tools. And they had once again survived the darkness of their summer and autumn, followed by the cold of winter.  They had survived to stand strong and bright - giving all passersby the hope of Spring.  Once blossomed, they appeared to be delicate and pretty.   But they are so much more - they are strength, endurance, reliability, and hope.

The lesson is simple - the practice is difficult.  Find a way in the face of adversity to always appear as if you have it all under control - strength, reliability, tenacity, a tolerance for any tree life throws your way.  Then, do all of that while providing a bright yellow and green symbol of hope -  still surrounded by a muddy, grey landscape. 

So, I tell myself over and over, "Be the damn daffodil." 

I'll try again tomorrow.