How do you bloom?

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It’s spring. Finally. Well, at least according to the calendar. The weather in New Jersey has been alternating between winter, spring and something in between. But spring flowers don’t play according to the calendar. Some popped up and were unceremoniously covered by snowfall. Others were forced to tread water in puddles. And still others made their appearance in a leisurely manner, waiting until the coast appeared to be clear.

This reminded me of a few things that I felt compared to share at greater length than in my quote post from 4 April 2019.

We are all have beauty within us, but it may be latent. Bulbs planted in autumn rest in the ground, waiting for the right conditions. But the fact that they’re resting doesn’t change that inside them is the blueprint to emerge and spread spring cheer to all who see them. They just need the right conditions. Similarly, we all have untapped potential in us, but may need to create the right conditions to activate them.

We peak at different times. Take a sample of tulips (or your spring flower of choice) and you’ll see that while they generally pop up around the same time, it’s not on the exact same date and time, even in the same yard. They’re each unique and decide when it is time to emerge. At a surface level, we’re not much different. Some individuals seem to peak in high school, others in the senior years, and others somewhere in between. What’s different between us and flowers, though, is that we can have multiple peaks in our lives (or if one continues the analogy, multiple seasons). Unfortunately, that means that we will also have multiple valleys. But when you take stock of where you are and where you want to go, you can chart a new course and work towards it, regardless of what you may or may not have accomplished in the past.

Comparison to others is pointless because we are different. No matter how much a crocus might like to be a daffodil, there is nothing it can do to fundamentally change itself. This is true to a limited extent for humans as well as there are certain physical characteristics that we simply cannot change. I can try to cover up my, um, “silver” highlights or work out to improve my physique, but I can’t grow a few inches no matter how much I might like.  So it’s pointless for me to compare myself to a tall, leggy model. What I can compare myself to is the best version of myself that I can be. I can focus on how I want to be more fit or how I want to train my mind, to learn new things, to apply myself to new goals. And then update my goals as I get closer to achieving them so that I can extend the peak.

We don’t all appeal to everyone. Few adults (especially those with a lawn) would say dandelions are their favorite flower. Yet think of how beloved dandelions are for children (and not just the mama-had-a-baby-and-its-head-popped-off variety). Those cheery weeds just BEG to be picked. They herald spring. And even after they are past their prime, they continue to be picked and their seeds blown to the wind.  The beauty each of us have to offer others will not be appreciated by everyone. And that’s fine. But there are so many people who will love you. Just be yourself and let others be drawn to you.

There’s another piece of good news.  Unlike flowers, there is no such thing as predestination for us humans. Because in addition to our exterior characteristics and our awesome opposable thumbs, we have the ability to dream, to visualize and to shape the course of our destinies. Yes, there will be things that come into our paths and threaten to divert us. But we can adjust and move forward. We are only limited by our beliefs and the effort we put in to chase our dreams.

So every time you see a spring flower, think of all that lies within you and all the amazing things that can be ahead of you.  If you create a compelling life vision, take the time to set goals and concrete steps to get there, and commit to the effort necessary to carry them out, you will bloom and grow and be the unique success that only you can be.

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