I don’t know when this idea made its way into my head, sneaking through my defenses and somehow rooting itself without my knowledge or consent. But today, when I was cathartically writing I realized that I was thinking as though I could mess up my future with one wrong choice.
One wrong choice means I don’t get the right boyfriend. One wrong choice means I live somewhere I’m miserable. One wrong choice and I’ve messed it all up beyond repair.
I once swore I’d never date and marry a man from Florida. Though I don’t feel bound to that anymore, I know the reasons why younger me swore that and was quite emphatic about it. Many of the people who come to live here, love it and they want to stay. “It’s too cold up north and we’re so close to the beach here,” that’s the mindset I’d encountered.
I’ll confess that sometimes it can get too cold up north but then, I grew up in Florida and I wear some sort of coat when it gets around 50 degrees. (But then, I’m also embarrassingly in love with snow) When I ventured away from Florida, moving to another state, I experienced the seasons for the first time. I fell in love with the swift changes and the colors that surround them. The flowers that bloom on the trees, purple, yellow, pink and white blossoms bring the joy of new life after a winter bundled up. I gathered those flowers, picking beautiful pink blossoms off my favorite tree and twirling the stem in my fingers, lifting it up to smell its sweet fragrance, fresh with a hint of honey and apple. Fall became my favorite of seasons, the leaves turning in color to gold, orange, deep red and burgundy.
I didn’t want to be with someone who would keep me in Florida and wouldn’t want to explore the great world around us. Who would be content with his surroundings and wouldn’t be the adventurous sort. I couldn’t name it then, but I was adventurous. I was also just coming out of being homeschooled and didn’t want to rush into being a second generation homeschool parent, like some of my peers. I wanted to forge my own path that would be good for me. I wanted to see what else was out there, beyond my sphere.
I used to fear that I’d get trapped into a situation I couldn’t escape without compromising my moral integrity. I thought I knew better than that, I didn’t think I feared that anymore, but it seems to have returned. Part of thriving is realizing that’s not true—that’s not something I need to fear. If I’m ever in a situation I didn’t anticipate, I have options. I won’t be trapped. I won’t have to compromise. I’ve seen stories in my life that illustrate that to me. And with each reminder, I slowly begin to feel more free.
I think thriving will mean figuring out how to forge my own path again. I’ve been so focused upon healing, upon the tasks I know I need to do, that I haven’t thought about it. I don’t have a complete picture of what that forging will look like in this season of my life. Except that it will involve lots of coffee and tea. And I will be braver for it. I hope thriving for me will mean getting to see the spring blossoms and fall leaves again soon.