Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Are you a wet leaf or a dry leaf?

In high school, one of my teachers gave an extemporaneous life lesson to my class. It's an image that has stuck with me for *mumble mumble* years.

She told us that we have to decide if we are going to be wet leaves or dry leaves in life. A dry leaf is carried by the wind, directionless. A wet leaf sticks and is difficult to move. Her closing statement, "Do you want to be pushed by anything, or stand for something?"

I've never been swayed much by negative peer pressure. Throughout my life, I've been fortunate to surround myself with people who provide positive peer pressure and, while they may present negative options from time to time, never make participation in negative activities a requirement for friendship. The idea of being "pushed by anything" didn't feel like an option to me.

The perspective that I've gained over the last *mumble mumble* years is that peer pressure isn't the only way to be "pushed by anything." I was looking at tornadoes and disregarding the light breezes. Apathy and rejection have been the light breezes that, at times, dried my leaf.

I've written before that I am very motivated. My natural state is "wet leaf." I want to make life happen for myself. I do my best to accomplish goals and put myself in the path of opportunity.

However, during very difficult times, I've been lulled by the dry leaf siren song. It's easier to do nothing and just see where you end up. Then, you're not responsible for what's going on in your life. You are simply life's victim. Sometimes problems have no solution.

Except...at my core, as much as I would like for life to be easier, I don't believe in being a victim of life's circumstance. I don't believe that there is a life problem that I can't solve. Granted, I may not like the potential solutions that I come up with or that I may hear from trusted advisers, but "doesn't like" isn't the same as "doesn't exist." Also, having been through very difficult times before, and having come out the other side, I know that sometimes the hardest decisions are the starting point of the most positive change.

I work in a very competitive field. Knowing this, in college, I cold-called businesses in my local chamber of commerce directory seeking summer internship opportunities. (Unlike today, when I was in college, most businesses did not advertise internship opportunities) Did I like cold-calling? No, and I still don't! But, I had an end goal and knew that even though I didn't like what I was doing, it was giving me an advantage in the future job market.

In middle school, "everyone" was getting school jackets. At age 10, I was too young to be taken seriously as a paid babysitter and my family didn't have money to buy an expensive jacket that I would outgrow within a year or two. So, I did what I could do -- I wrote a children's story and sent it to Highlights Magazine in the hopes of getting published and making enough money to buy my own jacket. (I didn't get published, but I did receive a very nice "we'll keep your story on file for potential use in another issue" letter that I still have today)

Today, I'm faced with similar challenges. There are parts of getting through my current challenge that I don't like. But, they are the steps to an end goal that I know exists. So, I focus on the goal, rather than the uncomfortable steps of the process, and re-wet my leaf.

Today, I'm grateful for the VS Semi-Annual sale that I stumbled upon at the mall. I love fun foundational garments, and I love rooting through the sale bins to see what's available, even if they're not things I will end up buying. I'm also grateful that I can get as much pleasure from window shopping, and knowing that cute/fun things exist as I can from actually owning those items.

1 comment:

Joel said...

I find wet leaves to be smelly, heavy, and annoying. Dry leaves are fun, pretty, and smell nice.

I am a wet leaf in life, but I like it that way. I don't smell bad though...I don't think...*sniffing*...nope...all good.