At 16 years old, I had my life all figured out. What I didn’t realize then was that the plans I had made were short-term, in the grand scheme of things (thankfully!). I pursued my dreams and built the life that I am happily living now. The clairvoyance I had at age 16 laid the path for my current present, and for that I am grateful. But, after arriving at my current destination some five years ago, I really have not had much in the way of a “vision for my future.” It was like I needed to have a Plan for the Future to lead me through the doors of the rest of my life. But since walking through those doors, the landscape has been wide open. I have found that there are no paths anywhere, just things off in the distance that look interesting, so I set off in that direction. Maybe I make it to that thing that captured my curiosity, maybe I veer off and pursue something else. The vastness of the landscape of life is occasionally overwhelming, sending me reeling.
I have a plant cutting that I intended to propagate for a bit of greenery in my office at work. At the beginning of 2020, my coworker gave me the above-captured cutting and explained the process. Keep it in water until you see the roots grow, then put it in soil. Ta-da! Cute (and free!) office plant. But then… well, you know. My office became a thing of the past. As the days turned into weeks turned into months, I felt like I was living an alternate reality. Somewhere out there the “real” me was still going about her day as if nothing had changed; her cutting was no longer a cutting but a full-fledged plant growing happily at the office. But the actual reality was I was at home with this cutting, watching the roots slowly take over the vase. Around June, and definitely by November, I knew the cutting was more than ready for its pot, but I left it untouched.
This cutting in a temporary vase of water became symbolic: a visual illustration of how many things in life are so very impermanent. I never planned to keep the cutting in the vase so long, but I could also see that my cutting was doing just fine in its temporary home. I found comfort in that. My little cutting showed me that though my circumstances are temporary, I can still do well within them.
During the extra time spent in its temporary home, the cutting grew more and more roots. These roots will allow the cutting to become a strong plant; the plant will survive and thrive in its eventual, more permanent home. In the same way, we can celebrate the extra roots we too grew this year. For me, I am proud of the way that I pushed past my mind telling me this new life wasn’t real because it wasn’t “normal,” and that I began to treat temporary with a sense of permanence.
I’m still a novice at holding the reigns of my life with open hands instead of tightly clenched fists, but the more control I relinquish the more interesting – and fun – my life has become. As we look forward to a new year, I encourage you to take stock of all you have with gratitude and make plans to keep charting your own unique path. Perhaps your current season of life will remain, or maybe you are on the brink of change. We can’t be sure until it happens. But what we can be sure of is that life is hard and good. We must live our own life according to our own truths and values, but always seek to be kind to one another. We must acknowledge that priorities look different from one person to the next but, in the end, we are all humans living a human life. We should remember that love in the form of friendship, family, and pets are priorities to work on and for, to maintain and hold onto securely. And we must never forget that bullshit is part of the journey, so don’t ever let your guard down or take what matters for granted.
In the continued spirit of metaphoric acceptance, I recently took a step of faith and potted my cutting in soil; it is rooted in possibility.