Over the Labor Day weekend, one of my good friends was discussing his living situation: how his house didn’t feel like a home, how he didn’t feel challenged by his friends and peers, and how he knows that in order to be happy and succeed, he’s going to need to uproot himself and find better soil with richer nutrients. I thought to myself: wow, this is an amazing analogy for our lives. It gives us a frame of reference and different way to approach how we participate in the world we live in, with our friends, family, colleagues, work, civic engagement and more.
Imagine, if you will, our lives as a plant rooted in soil. There are days that are cloudy which cause us to wilt. But then there are moments of sunlight, which allow us to blossom and share our full selves with the world. But those are the factors that we have very little to no control over. It is where we plant ourselves, however, that we gather our strength and support from.
Think of the region and city you live in as the terrain you are planted in. Now, picture your friends, family, peers and others as the nutrients in the soil. We spread our roots out, touching each of these sources for energy, support, growth and compassion. They provide us with comfort, friendship and fulfill our need to find purpose and meaning in life.
We have the opportunity to choose what kind of nutrients–the quality and quantity–that we rely so much upon. But most of us don’t really recognize that we really do have that kind of power over our lives. We have a choice. It just might mean having to make the uncomfortable and perhaps not so easy decision to uproot oneself and find…well…greener pastures.
So it is with this that I began to reflect upon my experiences in Washington and in Oregon. They are two states–with many differences and similarities–that I have such fondness for. But where is the best place for me to thrive and blossom? Surely I am thankful for those who have nurtured me in both locations: Portland and Spokane. Are either of those the best place? I don’t know for certain. But what I do know is that I need to remain open to the possibility that my surroundings might need to change in rider for me to grow and reach my fullest potential.
So over the coming weeks, I pan to spend more time reflecting upon my experiences, thanking my friends and colleagues, and even do a little soul searching to better determine who I am and who I am aspiring to be. And I have to be prepared to accept that what I may find will require change. But change…can be good.