How To Stop And Smell The Flowers

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The goal is not always as important as the journey.

Reflections

I always liked this song. I’m sad part of the creative minds that created it has lost his life too young in life.

The years pass by like sand sliding through an hourglass. When I was young, days lasted forever. As a child I climbed the trees, waded in the creek, and lived in the moment. Then the adult years came, and with them adult worries. Soon everything had a deadline and a goal. I was the master of my own fate, but that came with a price. I no longer had time to enjoy the moment. Tomorrow was coming fast. Then I was older, and years passed by like weeks. I worried more about wasting time, rather than spending it. I fretted about what I didn’t have, never enjoying what I did.

If I had a crystal ball, I’d never resist peeking at my future just as I always flip to the end of any story I read. There is a burning need inside me to know the result of all this suffering and toil. Is there a child in my future? Am I wasting precious time and energy on a dream that will never happen?

It is hard to sometimes just enjoy life’s journey. We always know the fairy tale ends in a happy ending. But our lives are not blessed with that promise. Living through a life without knowing if you’re in a tragedy or a comedy or both can be rough. I am always caught up in “what if?” that I often struggle to enjoy now. I always forget to stop and smell the flowers…

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Once upon a time, I was single and lonely. So lonely. I stared up at the ceiling of my dorm room, blinking away hot tears. I thought I’d never find love. I had just lost my crush to a friend. Love won’t happen to me, I thought getting more depressed. I’m twenty-two and I’ve never been on a date. Men hate me. They run from me. What’s wrong with me? Will I ever fall in love? Am I doomed to be single forever?

I agonized about it throughout my teenage years.

And once more I let my belief that the worse outcome was the only possibility steal away the happiness of the moment. I  was afraid to open my heart to the idea that the worst results were not the only results. I was trying to save myself from pain by protecting myself from hope.

A year later, I did fall in love for the first time — a sweet, terrifying, bitter, wonderful, and insightful experience. All my ideas and expectations of love were thrown out the window. The harsh lesson taught me not to ignore my instincts and not to rush things. From that lesson, I settled down emotionally and became less concerned about meeting someone. I realized I was okay living on my own.

Over a year later I fell in love again. This time I did not worry about the “what ifs”. I did get caught up in the goal, but let myself enjoy falling in love. I enjoyed the moment and it remains a beautiful moment.

I stopped to enjoy love, not capture and control it.

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For other parts of my life I still don’t have that inner peace. Why can’t I let go like I did about love? Why can’t I get that same kind of faith that things will work out?  I feel lost in a forest.

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I want to see ahead. I want to see the way out, yet it’s just more trees. More flowers.

I want to experience the beauty of the moment, but all I fear are the worries about my future and those “what ifs”.  I feel lost at times, like I’m meandering and wasting time. What will other people think? Their expectations can be crushing.

No sooner did I meet the expectations of my friends — find love and get married — then they had new ones. Will you have kids? What is your career?  What about this?  Achieving the expectations only leads to new ones. My peers are never satisfied. I’m never successful enough. The competition of who outdid who never seems to end. Who is happier? Who is better off? Who is more in love?  Who has children? Who has better children?  If they surpass you in one life goal, you are reminded that “you’ll get here one day”.

I feel like these goals are just tricks to keep us in the rat race. To make us feel trapped in a hierarchy of expectations. I want to be that person stops running from life goal to life goal just to prove I’m better than someone. I don’t want to be that person. I’ve never cared nor thought of others in those terms, yet I still get caught up in the Life Olympics.

I have to remind myself that it’s okay not to meet life goals. Enjoying time is not wasting it. And stopping to smell the flowers every once in a while is okay. Life is not a destination, but a journey.

No one will ever say, “Congrats, you completed all your life goals. Now you can relax”.

I have to say that to myself. I have to say, “You know what. I don’t care about that life goal. I am okay if I never tick off that box. I don’t care if you feel you bested me in that category of life. We are not in a competition for who had the better life. We are on our own journey’s and I’m tired of having mine compared to others. Leave me in peace. I just want to stop and smell the flowers.”

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There is always another deadline. Another life goal to check off. I hope I can learn to let go of my fears of the future and what others think of me. I hope I can stop letting the opinions of others control what I think of myself.

I guess I don’t want to end up as someone who never experienced life because I was too busy reaching the end.

 

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5 thoughts on “How To Stop And Smell The Flowers

  1. Such a thought provoking post. It’s hard not knowing what the future holds.. I remember at some point I stopped praying for a child and just prayed for a happy future whatever that may be. Whenever I hear of a young person’s life caught short, it always reminds me to try to live in the moment more and appreciate things. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others! That’s one of the bad things about social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly!

      It’s easy to get caught up in getting to the destination and forgetting to enjoy the journey.

      My husband and I sometimes get caught up in the goal of having a child that we forget to enjoy the perks of childlessness. If we could just know our child was guaranteed we’d probably enjoy this time more.

      But what can you do?

      Like

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