While I practice being content I'm finding beauty in simplicity. I'm learning to slow down, to enjoy the little things in life, to open my eyes to the world around me. I'm remembering old delights and discovering even more that I've overlooked. When I stop constantly pining away for the not-yet, I find the time to pause and realize the whole world is at my finger tips here and now. I just need to be present. Practicing being patient and content can actually make life pretty exciting. I can't wait to find out what else I've been missing. Life is happening all around me, all I have to do is change my perspective.
This weekend I went out to my grandma's house to help her plant flowers. As I put mulch around her petunias and lugged hoses across the lawn I remembered the summer I spent as a groundskeeper planting and watering flowers, mulching, trimming and setting up for events. As my fingers pushed back the dirt I remembered how good it feels to dig into the earth. There's nothing like a hard day's work and the dirt under your fingernails to show for it. My grandma bought a set of snapdragons for me. It reminded me of the days I used to meander along her sidewalk pinching every blossom to make the "dragon's mouth" open and close. Every year I would ask if they were called snapdragons or dragonsnaps and to this day I still get the name turned around. Once again I couldn't resist pinching the blossoms again to open and close the dragon.
As we watered the flowers I placed my thumb over the hose to adjust the spray, the icy water split into droplets that sparkled in the sunlight like diamonds, what fun. Speaking of fun and a garden hose, there's nothing like the taste of ice cold water straight from the hose. It instantly draws me back to summer days spent frolicking in the sprinkler. Days where squeals of laughter and delight rang through the backyard. Days where I never gave a second thought to sunburn or how I looked in a swimsuit, despite being outnumbered by neighborhood boys.
Somewhere along the way the squeals of laughter and self-confidence were pushed aside. They were replaced with a more serious, practical side that tricks me into thinking I'm too old for such fun. Thankfully I have friends who remind me to just be a kid again. For example, this weekend I attended a wedding at an old stone barn. After the ceremony we walked around the property and came across a wooden swing hanging from an old tree. My friend instantly suggested we hop on and try it out. I, on the other hand, was thinking "I'm wearing heels and a strapless dress that's already having enough trouble staying up, there is no way I'm getting on that swing with everyone watching." She proceeded to get on the swing, kick off her heels and pump her legs back and forth. After swinging a bit she jumped off and kindly convinced me to get on despite my lame excuses. She gave me a huge push and I was off swinging through the air, higher and higher. It felt amazing,
After swinging we went over to a gigantic oak tree. It was the most beautiful, picture perfect, majestic, sweeping oak tree I've ever seen. The limbs dipped all the way to the ground forming one grand arch, just like the trees people get married under in the movies only better because it was real. The wedding was inside the barn, but plenty of ceremonies have taken place under that tree. My friend was dying to climb the tree while I was a little less enthusiastic. Now I used to climb trees in dresses all the time without a second thought, but I also used to wear shorts underneath for just such an occasion.
We skipped the tree climbing (this time) and opted for a few pictures instead. I wish I would have gotten one of the whole tree, but I'll have to go back sometime for that. You should be able to tell which one is me by the color of the dress. Don't ever expect to see a picture of me in a dress again. While I might start wearing dresses more often, I don't think I'll ever like pictures. (or figure out how to not blink at the exact moment every single picture is taken)
Whether it's swinging in a dress, tree climbing, picture taking or something else completely, I'm grateful for friends who live life to the fullest and encourage me to do the same. I'm slowly learning to be more spontaneous and adventurous and it feels just as amazing as swinging through the air. There are so many beautiful things waiting to be discovered if we pause and look. Just don't let me slow down and look in the same place too long, I always need that push to keep me going. I'll probably hesitate and make excuses when you push, but please continue to nudge me along, drag me with or give me a good kick. I know I won't regret it once I get started.
Food for thought: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom." - Anais Nin