Beginning the afternoon run with a warm up under the arbor of shading trees along Channel Drive, the sun peaked through the bending bows lashing and beating upon the group of plodding athletes. Although the cruel sun continued to shine, the spirits of the youth continued bubbly and relaxed. Before the stretching stop, the lead runners rounded the final bend in a crisp horizontal line crossing the road like a pack of wolves ready to attack. Pacing with the boys, a lonely female, already soaked in sweat, trotted along at the left end of the line. Unbeknownst to the team, two cat like eyes gazed at the approaching movement. Suddenly, with a spastic hop, skip, and a jump, the drenched girl burst forward in an olympic size leap. Brown and slimy, a two foot rattlesnake relaxed in its coils in the center of the road next to a fallen stick. With a racing heart, the runner, whose biggest fear remains reptiles, hopped and wriggled continually at the thought of the ghastly beast lurking in her path. A brave coach assessed the situation and calmly flicked the diamond covered, rattling reptil off the well traveled path into the dead grass, weeds, and leaves. Avoiding the poisonous reptile for the remainder of the workout, the victim failed to dodge the repetitive teasing from her unsympathetic friends.
Do you ever push pause on the chaos of life and let your mind just wander? Shutting out distractions allows for thoughts, dreams, problems, and plans to just race free throughout your head. Finding the time in life to process and sort through life struggles, hardships, or plans is often very difficult. It is so easy to get caught up in the next party, class, or job. Sometimes we push the hard things to the very back of the “to do list.” The tears, the heartaches, the mistakes can all get lost and jumbled in the chaos of life and its many adventures.
Often it is easier for me to ignore issues, big and small if I know it is going to cause discomfort or pain to myself or others. Since I was nine, I have taught myself to be strong and hold it together like a “big” girl. I’ve learned the hard way that big girls actually cry. It’s okay to feel sad, happy, excited, disappointed, rejected, and other emotions. Feeling the good, the bad, and the ugly is okay.
It is also exhilarating to let your mind race. Planning your future job, family, life is a fun way to let your mind wander during the busy days and weeks. Sadly, our plans don’t always go the way we want. Fires start, people die, injuries happen. Choosing how we handle the roadblocks is a choice each individual gets to make for him or herself. You get to decide to get back up, or lay there helplessly. Taking it slow isn’t a bad plan.
So what’s the point? Why try when life get tough? Why do bad things happen? How do you go forward? Why can’t my perfect plans work out? For some, these questions are rare. Some enjoy peachy, picture perfect lives. For some these questions are a daily routine.
A solution I have found outside of my faith to quiet these questions is to simply be honest and real. Why be fake when you can just be real. Yes, people will judge you, yes, people won’t understand, and yes, some just won’t care…at all. But in my experience, I feel so much better telling it like it is rather than putting on a fake smile and saying the typical, “I’m good.” Learning to be real isn’t easy, but it sure is rewarding.
Don’t forget to rest your mind and let it wander in the sunset.
Summer has fully set, and the yearly fall colors decorate the neighborhoods and hills in Northern California. Sadly, some hills and neighborhoods are not relishing in this year’s fall glory. Fierce and relentless, multiple fires scorched thousands of homes, many businesses, and lush hilltops, leaving nothing but black waist. The fire stripped a large portion of beauty from Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties.
Although the destruction was and remains tragic, the fire was unable to melt the so often vibrantly painted evening sky. This to me is a reminder that though the fire seemed to destroy so much, in the scheme of things and in this vast galaxy, it only touched a little tiny speck. In this fall and Thanksgiving season, I want to be thankful for the beautify heavens, the fall trees, and the love that is pouring out during this impacted time.
The fire will go down in history, but I want to remember that there is always a bit of beauty in the brokenness. Sometimes it’s hard to find and takes time, but finding it is extremely rewarding. As Aarti Khurana states, “While you are alive collect moments not things.”
School and sports are well underway. The clock ticks on, classes begin and end, and homework piles rise and fall. Sometimes the ride through our day is smooth, but other days we get pricked popping like a bubble landing on a thorn. Learning to embrace each day is an important part of growing up and living in this world. Nobody’s life is perfectly peachy. Although our graceful and almost perfect days are few and far between, learn to enjoy the moments like a big bouncy bubble flaunting its shapely self until it lands on an uneven surface. Enjoy the school and work days as they come and go. Be grateful for all the good things that can be enjoyed in life like a bottle of bubbles with friends, family, or perfect strangers.
Today is officially my last day of summer. In all honesty, I am not 100% sad it’s over (that does not mean I am not complaining a little). As much as I dread the early mornings and piles of homework, I like the schedule and routine. In the past few years, I have literally been dragged out of my bed. I now use an alarm that vibrates my bed instead of one that beeps for half an hour waking everyone except me. My goal for this school year is to rise early every day and not stay up too late when I don’t have to.
As the 2017-18 school year approaches quickly I have made a decision that I hope will benefit my health in the coming school year. Playing three sports on top of Junior College classes and homework leaves little time for me to catch a cold or the yearly flu that tends to float around. No sugar. Yes, I know that seems rather harsh, but refraining from eating the occasional cookie, candy, or soda, my body’s immune system will be able to focus on building my muscle strength and less on fighting off the evil colds. This doesn’t make me unsusceptible, just less susceptible. Once a week my family decided that we can have one treat, but that means one. Not a binge.
While trying to get into a better sleep pattern, as well as staying healthy, I hope to be able to find extra time outside of homework and sports to work on my photography. I love photography and want to continue to photograph amidst a busy school year. In past years when the school year has hit, my camera has been nicely tucked in its bag on my shelf. However, this year I want things to be different. I want to have the time and freedom to take pictures and work on my website without being overly stressed about homework and life.
As time ticks on and my last few minutes of summer fade, I am choosing to embrace this next school year and push myself harder than I have in previous years. My goals aren’t unrealistic, but without dedication and persistency they could be easily swept under the rug. Let’s begin the 2017-18 school year strong!