A Reminder That You're Actually Allowed To Breathe, Okay?
Almost two years ago to the day, I wrote the below post. Apparently I needed a reminder of its message, because the internet randomly spat it back up at me yesterday, and I just… I don’t know. I needed to hear it. You know?
It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to take time to breathe. It’s okay if reaching your goals takes a lifetime. It’s okay to make the journey fun along the way, instead of filled with cramped pressure and tight deadlines. It’s okay.
ON DOING ENOUGH – Oct 17, 2019
There’s this glorious big dogwood tree outside my office, and right now it’s in full and glorious bloom. Honestly, it’s stunning. I want to spend half an hour comprehensively photographing it every time I walk past.
On my way out to the carpark yesterday, I overheard one of the head gardeners chatting with a woman who was concerned for the fate of the tree now that building extensions have been announced. The gardener noted that a tree of that size had to be at least 50 years old.
And I noticed, as I walked back to my office, having got to the carpark and realised that I had everything I needed for a class in my arms, and nothing I particularly needed for going home (such as, you know, car keys >.<), that another one of the trees near my building is flowering. It’s also a dogwood, unless there is suddenly a species of tree that mimics dogwood flowers precisely, but I would never have assumed it to be such.
Why? Because it’s about a tenth of the size: maybe my height, give or take a handful of inches, round like a bubble bush, and entirely leafless at the moment, with a couple of sparse-ish pink flowers. This tree would, I imagine, be in its teens.
I’ll be 34 soon-ish, and while that’s not particularly old, on the other hand it’s a scant 16 years until 50. My writing career is only just in its infancy, but I’m “supposed” to be in the prime of my life. These two things cause cognitive dissonance, sometimes; frustration, impatience – at life, which gets in the way of writing time, and myself, who is frequently guilty of sabotaging my writing through procrastination and fear.
I’m 34. (Nearly.) Shouldn’t my career be up and running and stable by now? Shouldn’t I be earning a stable income from it now? Shouldn’t I shouldn’t I shouldn’t I?
It’s hard, when you’re chasing non-conventional lifestyles, whatever they may be, to balance carving your own path with the pressure to keep up with ‘normal’ milestones. It’s hard to remember, when you’re surrounded by peers who are being successful in more traditional lifestyles that the reason you’re not matching them in wages or spare time or whatever your measure of success is, that the reason you’re “behind” is not because you’re a failure, it’s because you’re taking a different path.
Teenage trees aren’t much to look at, compared to fifty-year-old glories. But if every teenage tree compared themselves to the grand denizens of the forests – well, they could take one of two paths. They could lament that they ‘aren’t there yet’… Or they could take joy from seeing what their future will hold, if they are patient, if they keep growing – if they just don’t give up and quit first.
Humans are not, by nature, terribly patient creatures. And so, it’s worth taking a lesson or two from the trees around us.
Yes, you – and I – might not be in full bloom right this second. But we’ll get there. Don’t let comparisons with others or expectations of where you ‘should’ be devalue or derail your dreams.
Hang in there. Be patient. We shall conquer the world, if but slowly.
A Reminder That You’re Actually Allowed To Breathe, Okay? was originally published on Amy Laurens
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Pl eas e st ay .
I kn ow th ing s are to ugh .
I do n ot kn ow wha t thin gs —
and I do no t kno w ho w toug h they are .
But p lea se try to st ay for a litt le long er , Angelfr ien d .
I do no t wan t to be with out you .
It is selfi sh of me , sure ly —
Bu t my FRIEND want ed to lea ve bef ore t oo , and I would n ever hav e been able to cre ate this blog , to ma ke so many peo ple smil e , to fin d frien ds like You , if he had go ne thro ugh with it .
S ame go es for yo u . You st ill mak e peop le smil e. Yo u mak e me ha ppy . I alw ays lo ok forwa rd to yo ur mess age s — and I ba rely even kn ow y ou .
Ple ase , Angelfr iend . St a y .
,.. ؛ ❤️
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