She collected dreams the way some gather seashells.
Walking along the coast of her life, she watched the waves crash down and waited for the tide to roll out. Her heart open, the woman searched. Carefully sifting through goals and intentions, she picked up the prettiest ones. Glimmering hopes and future fantasies jingled in the pocket of her pink skirt.
She remembered a time when her knuckles were white from gripping onto what might have been. Thinking back, she held her breath tight and felt the what ifs and how comes of her darker hours. Questions, worries and wishes used to rain down on her without mercy. She stumbled and wandered through the dark. Her heart was heavy and filled with fear.
Understanding came with time. Answers unfolded with perspective. She realized that focusing on the past brought more of the same. Worrying, wondering, and wishing distracted her from the magic of ordinary moments. She learned not to question things beyond her control. She learned to exhale, to let go, to look forward.
She collected dreams the way some gather seashells. With love and compassion for herself and those whom she would never meet, the woman whispered her dreams to the wind.
Today I am home. Many of my fondest memories and significant
landmarks of my life are housed here in this place where I grew up.
For some reason, this visit home has made me think about how
quickly time has passed since my life here-- yet how long ago it sometimes
feels. Time is strange that way. I think about the girl who grew up here. And
the girl I was when I left. A girl full of weaknesses and insecurities but also
one with strong ideas and goals waiting to be realized. When my time here
was up, I put on a brave face and stepped out into the world. And I learned more about life and I accomplished hard things. And although it came with inevitable growing pains, each visit home I returned a little bit stronger.
Occasionally, I wish I could go back and pay myself a visit
during those younger times and counsel myself to hold onto each moment that
time would soon take from me. I would tell myself to be more grateful. To be more kind. To be more present. To allow myself to open up and to connect with others. To let people in.
Perhaps most importantly, to be happy now.
Because up until recently, I think I have spent a lot of my
life waiting to acquire this grand idea that is happiness. Thinking that it
would be some milestone that I would someday reach. Some accomplishment I would
soon be able to check off my long list of things to do.
And I wonder why we
so often lie to ourselves in this way, saying things like:
happiness will come tomorrow
I know I’ll be happy
once I graduate
or the ever popular
Surely I will finally be happy when I am married
And as we tell these lies, happiness continues to evade us and
time will never allow us to grasp it.
Because the truth is, time and happiness are unrelated. Happiness
can only be created when we truly desire it. If waited to be stumbled upon, it will never be acquired.