Wildfires grow Wildflowers
I am now, who I never thought I would be. I don’t recognize myself most days. And yet I have the faintest memory of who I was.
I had a deeply rooted suspicion that the age 24 was going to be a great age. Of course... most people say that about every year, but I was pretty darn sure about this one.
My 24th year began at the start of September. That’s where I believe my real wildfire sparked.
I started losing myself. Quite literally. In the most positive way, I promise. Shedding the pounds that weighed myself and my self confidence down. Friends were secretly trying to connect me with my future best friend, despite my skepticism and slight indifference. My drive for creating my own business and having the freedom of having a lifestyle of my choosing was not being kindled. Though the potential lingered. All while working at a job that did not give me the joy it used to, but was now tolerated.
That’s when my wildfire became something I couldn’t ignore anymore. Standing in my front yard, an orange glow loomed over my head. Like a tidal wave of the unknown and unexpected. Two of my worst fears wrapped into one. And the two things I needed to overcome the most in order to overcome myself.
If you turned around to face the opposite side of the street you would never know that, what looked like, a fiery end-of-the-world hurricane was even happening. Overlooking those city lights while living in that house for only a few months almost seems like a premonition now. As if we as a family hiked up a large hill, landing at the top, lights of the city below, and a perfect view of the ocean. (Despite the neighbors tree, which was the only thing to be left standing, might I add. God has a sense of humor.)
From where I stood I saw great, beautiful things. Bright, happy things. Possibilities laid out in front of me.
The unknown has never been something I’m fond of. My mom will tell you about the time she put me in ballet. And how I never jumped in to join the kids in fear of not knowing what I was doing and looking stupid. Despite none of the other kids knowing what they were doing either. But then coming home and prancing about the living room showing off my plié. As if I had that confidence all along.
This time I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t opt out, watch from afar, and pretend I knew what I was doing after. And that’s where most life changing moments take place, right? When you’re forced to change your mindset. When you have nothing more to lose. When all the weight is gone.
So we jumped. I jumped. Finding my goals and ambitions I had tucked away in the back of my closet for years, and putting them into a bag to be pulled out again and dusted off when the ash had settled.
The ash took a long time to settle. Seven months to be exact. Sometimes to be picked up and thrown in my face in the midst of healing.
When you don’t have anything, you’re left with what is most important to you and those things become your everything. Even if you didn’t know what those things were.
For me, what was left still standing in the ash was love and happiness.
Ooey, gooey , and cheesy, I know. But it’s true! When there are no more distractions to keep your ego occupied, your soul opens to let in all the light it craves.
Mine was starved. It needed healing from the devastation, of course. But it also needed healing from all the neglect I subjected it to. Neglecting physical health, mental health, growth, love, an abundance of self doubt.
No more distractions. I allowed my soul to let in the light it craved. The love for my passions and ambitions regardless of the doubt. And the happiness I feel when I achieve and succeed in them. It let in the love I have for my best friend and all the happiness I drown in when we are together. And love for myself. And the happiness I feel when I think back to when I thought I’d never have it.
I count every little blessing and count all of the good things that come my way. (Still growing that pile of good things, by the way.)
I don’t know if every life has a turning point like mine has. Or if more than one occurs in each lifetime. Or if each will feel as traumatic as it felt to me. But from what I’ve learned, I’d like to tell you... The universe knows that we don’t appreciate the things that just fall into our laps.
I’m not saying that we can’t be angry or frustrated. But I am saying, wildfires are necessary to our environment. Of course we don’t want them, but we need them. We need our soil to be purified, the undergrowth cleared away, letting the sunlight reach our depths. Returning to us our wildflower’s ability to abundantly grow for years to come.
Take time to wallow. Kick a few tires. Scream-cry into your pillow.. or into the backseat of your car if you’re lacking in the privacy department for a few months. And then, take the time to reflect. Adjust your perspective. Take a good look at the pile of “good things” you have collected. How will you use your ‘unexpected’s, your ‘unknown’s, and your wildfires, to let yourself grow.
I am a firm believer in that everything happens for reason.
I guess you can say that I’m grateful for that damn wildfire. For clearing the brush and allowing me to start fresh and do my growing.
And here we are on September 1st. The start of my 25th year. And I am now, who I never thought I would be. I am in pursuit of my ambitions and passions. I have so much love and comfort, its overwhelming. I’ve surrounded myself with best friends that push me to be better in every aspect of life. And I am a happier, stronger, and healthier version of my old self; physically and mentally. I find myself anxious and giddy with excitement for the future. All I needed was to light a little spark.
24 was a pretty great age. Just as I suspected.