Metaphors provide relatable and simple frames of reference to help me interpret my life. Understanding a metaphor, however, is a completely separate phenomenon from experiencing a metaphor.
For example, my freshman year I joined the ballroom dance team and learned how to tango. And as I became more and more invested in improving my dancing, going from no dance experience to competing at national competitions, I learned many key lessons:
- You cannot ballroom dance by yourself
- You cannot place in a ballroom dance competition by yourself
- You cannot achieve any sort of dancing success solely by yourself
Indeed, as some might say - it takes two to tango, the takeaway being that prioritizing partnership and collaboration is essential to success. It's a wildly simple metaphor, but it didn't really become meaningful until I actually experienced it.
I had this happen again to me this past week. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, my roommate Carlton and I decided that yes, THIS is the day we are going to take up gardening. A few hundred dollars of plants and soil later, we got to work with arranging and potting. It got me thinking about the gardening life metaphor and the act of uprooting ourselves, of picking up everything in our lives and then transplanting and plopping down somewhere else.
With every lily, daphne, cactus, or whatever plant I was working with, I just couldn't help but think how much I could relate to these plants that were being uprooted from their store packaging and transplanted to a new home. I am literally uprooting these plants, gently coaxing them out of their basic greenhouse packaging and into a beautiful ceramic planter. And I'm just holding my breath, hoping my new babies are having a good transition and will ultimately find their new homes comfortable enough to grow and flourish.
I am a flower in the exact same situation! Or tree, or weed, or whatever plant you can relate to.
8 months ago I packed everything up, said see you later to people I love, and posted up in Seattle. I tried to make sure my growing conditions were optimized accordingly: a comfortable bed, a good social group, somewhat balanced meals, and of course prioritizing work life balance to prevent myself from complete corporate madness. And indeed, similar to my plant babies, I'm holding my breath hoping that I'll find my new home comfortable enough to grow and flourish.
In the next couple of weeks, the weather will get warmer and the rain a little milder. A lot of my new plants will bloom, reaching their full beauty as the joyful anticipation of summer wafts through their petals. As the flowers bloom, I hope you and I do too. You, also being a young 20 something in a transitional life stage, unsure of what the worst could be while still hoping for the best. It's an interesting gray space to be in.