(Disclaimer: I am my mother's daughter, and if I didn't know flowers enough to be aware that these are tulips, not lilacs, there is a small chance I may be disowned from the Queen of Gardening, herself. The title may seem misleading, but it is connected at some point in this post...or at least I hope.)
It is spring. IT IS SPRING. We made it through winter and now bask in the glory of spring. Thank God that this year April showers are not here and bringing May flowers. This year winter showers have brought April flowers and the gray finally has broken into full days of sunshine. Just last week Seattle was much more enjoyable than California with 77 degree weather while down South endured (actually, more like enjoyed and needed) the storms that swept through.
Why in the world am I giving you an update on the weather? If you had to survive this past winter in the PNW with the record amount of rainfall and a never-changing gloomy sky, you might understand the overwhelming joy of stepping into the glorious warmth of the sunlight and allowing it to kiss your face and remind you that, indeed, you are still alive (and indeed, your skin looks sickly).
Of course, you can't predict the weather. Although we are distinctly in a seasonal transition, it doesn't mean the sun is out all day long, or the clouds are completely gone. It is still, very much, the Northwest and in the blink of an eye, your sunshine turns to cold rain.
These past couple of weeks more than ever I have realized the importance of seizing opportunities as they present themselves.
One of the best parts of my job is having the privilege of journeying alongside my students throughout the entirety of the academic year. Like it or not, the students that I supervise get to (have to) spend at least an hour a week with me. Part of our time revolves around their job functions. Most of our time revolves around their lives. How are you doing? How are you caring for yourself? What do you need? Where do you want to be and how do you get there?
From observing almost 2 years of students in this capacity I am recognizing that the spaces where my students grow the most are when they identify what it is they need or want, and then go for it.
The problem is that it's not that easy. Pressures from anywhere and everywhere push in against hearts and minds. "You're not good enough. You're not smart enough. You've messed up and can't recover. You're not brave. You're too tired. It's too hard. You don't have time. You're fine."
Pressure turned to excuses rooted in fear.
That's where I have been. Last time I sat here and blogged I was laughing at the irony of sitting in a similar physical space, in a similar mental space, hoping and believing I would change, and realizing in that span of time, not one thing had shifted. I also have realized that I sure am full of excuses.
It felt wrong to sit back down and blog until I let go of some of the pressure and moved beyond excuses...well at least some of them, anyway.
The magic of spring in the Northwest is in the flowers. Practically year-round we get to enjoy the glorious green of the thousands of trees and mountains and plants and parks that surround Seattle. It is magnificent.
But then, spring.
One morning I woke up and it was as if a confetti popper exploded everywhere. Cherry reds and soft pinks and sunset oranges and snowy whites and fire yellows and shades of purple you couldn't even dream of sprinkled the ever enduring green turning heads and warming hearts simply by being.
It is not to be missed, but can easily be overlooked if someone isn't paying close enough attention.
Did you know that lilacs only bloom once a year for an average of two weeks?
While on a one-on-one (or a fun-on-one, as I like to call them) with one of my RAs, John, he pointed this out to me. The sun was out (or at least attempting) and coffee was on our minds. As we got out of the car, John made a beeline for the lilacs. His face fully pressed into the bush, he took long inhales to immerse himself in the precious fragrance of the blooms. I joined him.
Walking back to the car John was by my side for a minute until I heard him say, "I can't miss it!" There he was, taking a detour to be one with the lilacs yet again. I laughed at him out of endearment and amusement; and then I joined him, naturally.
There are only two weeks to bask in the scent of the lilacs.
John went for it.
And so did I.
I told you I didn't feel comfortable blogging again until I actually followed through on my commitment to make some changes that I've been hemming and hawing about since last November.
Step one: find a counselor and make an appointment.
I'm not sure what step two is, but that's okay. I've known about step one for a long while and kept ignoring it.
TJ keeps traveling a lot for work, leaving me with quite a bit of free time. It has been important that I utilize time for myself, doing things that bring me life and keep me grounded. This past week he has been in California once more, and I got sick. I kind of had to choose me in this time in order to rest and recover. My feet love me because I took care of my ogre toes and got a pedicure. I took a bath. I got a book from the library and have been reading. Every day the sun has come out, I have been in it, even if just for a few minutes. I've gone on walks and sat by the water and I found a counselor and now I've blogged.
The time has come to take in the lilacs and I'm all in. Well, at least trying to be. Hopefully I don't discover a pollen allergy or get stung by a bee in the process.
Actually, even if I do, it will be worth it. There are only two weeks, and I would hate to miss them.