Rainy days usually want to make me stay inside and just watch the television or curl up with a cup of coffee and a really good book, relaxing into maximum comfort wherever I am (preferably a coffee shop or at home in my sunroom). I like sitting where there are windows so I can watch the rain fall down around me and hear it pound melodically on the roof. However, it’s not the same when you feel trapped inside a room, a house, a town, or a state.
“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.” ― Masaru Emoto
Being in college, living in the dorms, and being dispossessed of a car whilst I’m here, it’s not surprising that my university has felt like less than home and more like a few hundred acres cage within which there is little to do besides school work, reading, writing, and going to the same places to eat and the same recreational facilities. After a while, this encompassing, almost suffocating, environment became too much. It felt as if I were drowning in the rain that kept pouring from the clouds and as if the wind were blowing me around like a puppet on strings, keeping me tied to campus. I felt like I didn’t belong here.
“Bloom Where You’re Planted.” ― Mary Engelbreit
So what could I do? I could stay in my room all day, hiding from the sunshine that I couldn’t see because I kept my window curtains closed…. I could continue doing what I was doing, reliving the same day over and over again just trying to stick it out until finals…. Or, I could make the best of it.
After all, it is spring. The weather is chaotic (an apt metaphor for the semester) but temperatures are milder than winter. Buds are appearing on the once barren tree branches. Even flowers are blooming in the beds around campus, along the sidewalks, and out on the fields. If these buds and blossoms could survive the thunderstorms, the gusting winds, and the changing of the seasons, then so could I.
Sometimes we can’t be humans with cars that can take us to where we feel more comfortable. Sometimes we have to be flowers and bloom where we’re planted.
“The lilac branches are bowed under the weight of the flowers: blooming is hard, and the most important thing is – to bloom.” ― Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yes, like my fellow classmates I resolved to stick it out the rest of the semester by counting down the days, but I also strove to make those days happy ones. It wasn’t always easy; in fact, some days it was almost impossible. But, I tried to focus on little changes I could make that I knew wouldn’t necessarily speed up time, but make it more enjoyable to pass.
In addition to preparing for finals, I got out and ran (running is definitely a good release of energy when you feel a lot of frustration and anxiety building inside you); I read for pleasure, not just for class; and I set aside some time every day for a warm cup of coffee and an hour or so of writing (not paper writing).
By doing this, I found that I was not only enjoying my days more, but I was enjoying life more and therefore more appreciative of where I was. I noticed how, when the sun was out, it would cast shadows across the sidewalk and make the green of the leaves brighter. Each morning I would notice the different colors the sky would cycle through before settling on its signature powder blue. It made me wonder if anyone else really noticed these things. I know I only noticed when I had to accept that, for the next few days, I was stuck here within this campus and that I could either be miserable or happy. I had a choice.
Why not make the choice to act like the flowers outside the library? Their roots may be firmly planted, but even so, they move with the spring breeze and bask in the sunlight. It doesn’t seem like a bad deal when you have no physical mobility.
What’s even better: as soon as I was in a happy mood, so were others. One smile can start a chain of smiles. One complement can start a string of compliments. One pleasant conversation can make someone’s entire day. Before you know it, in the face of whatever thunderstorm is going on in life, there’s the knowledge that if we can just choose to make the best of where we are, then the storm will pass quicker and resonate to others.
So, in the spirit of the flowers outside the library (tulips – my favorite!), bloom where you’re planted until you can get to where you need to be. Who knows? Maybe this is actually where you’re meant to be after all? Here, inspiring people with your positive attitude and outlook on life?