As my school year draws to a close, the notion of letting go is front and center on my mind. May is always a poignant month for a teacher, but this May has been particularly heavy as I prepare to leave the world of education behind and embark on a new career path. I will miss my students dearly and the person I have become under their tutelage, but as we march toward the last day of school, I am more and more ready to let go of who I have been in order to make space for who I will be.
For Mother's Day, I asked my mom what my post this week should be about. She loves to give advice, and I figured a fresh perspective would brighten my writing. When she immediately suggested I write about gardening, I decided to run with "planting happiness."
With the rise of "main character energy" in the post-pandemic, there's been a lot of buzz over the past few years over the notion of "romanticizing your life." In short, this idea urges you to fall in love with your own existence the same way you might fall in love with another person. A simple Google search yields list upon list of ways you can do this. This content is fun and zesty but ultimately flawed. Approaching your romance with yourself with dos and don'ts is as effective as wooing a crush by giving them a handbook. True romance is spontaneous and melting, not structured and task-oriented. If you're interested in romanticizing your life, there's a simpler way.
Generally speaking, I'm not a very good liar, but I am excellent at lying to myself. I count myself amongst the majority in this department. Most people value honesty and seek to use it in their relations with others, but when it comes to themselves, they may be so adept at deception that they don't even know they're doing it. But self-honesty and not lying to yourself matters.
I celebrate life's journey -- some days more than others.
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was to stop trusting my emotions, which means, don't trust my gut. I had gone to see an acupuncturist with a strained back and an abundance of curiosity. He palpated my ovaries, eyelids, and the like for a half minute before diagnosing my issue as one of emotional over-indulgence. He stuck a couple of dozen needles in me, left me alone for 20 minutes, and returned with his treatment plan. "You shouldn't trust your gut so much," he suggested and sent me on my way.
I hate the phrase, "live your truth." I really do. Besides being tragically cliched, relegated to Instagram captions and gift shop t-shirts as it is, "live your truth" is generally marketed as a philosophy that will always yield a good outcome: live your truth, and you'll be radiant, prosperous, and probably really great at yoga. Live your truth, and achieve perfect bliss. Rarely have I heard a person or a piece of content urge me to live my truth and insinuate anything but a wonderful result.
Taking risks has a bad reputation. We advise people against decisions that seem "risky," warn children away from capers that might result in injury, and, as a general rule of thumb, seek certainty at all costs. On the surface, this ethos makes perfect sense. Why take risks when the odds are against you? After all, that's what risk is: a poor probability or an unlikely shot.
I believe that January offers the stillness necessary for revivification, and because of this, I've gotten into the habit the past couple of years of using the month as a true reset. I am especially thrilled about this opportunity this year. I ended 2022 not with a bang nor a fizzle but with a nagging cold, a shoulder injury, and a sub-par attitude. I'd like to share with you today my intentions around the new year to amend these physical and psychic wrongs.
The best gifts don't come in prettily-wrapped packages. The best gifts aren't found under the tree. The best gifts are things we experience all year long.