Today I went running on some of my favorite trails by my apartment. It's the first time this season that the woods really looked like spring has sprung. Miniature turtles lined fallen logs in the lake and Lemna, floating waterplants (shoutout to into bio!) already coated the surface of half the water. The trees were green and colorful flowers lined the edges of the path while grasshoppers crisscrossed the length of open field in the middle of my route. It all made me smile and wish that I had my camera but I knew that it had all happened before and would happen again.
As I turned back towards home, I reflected that there was a time that this route was my only solstice. Indeed, it is a quiet ritual that restores my spirit still, but once upon a time it was the only thing that could seem to restore my soul. Perhaps I now take the beauty of spring on my trails for granted, but I think that I've also grown stronger and learned to glean beauty and comfort from other things as well. Three years ago at this time, I felt so alone. My college roommates were far away in other states and I had made only superficial friends in grad school. I was afraid to show my comedic side to my peers and superiors lest they think me foolish and unprofessional Furthermore, I was paralyzed whenever faced with making a decision, fearing that I would make the wrong one and that no one would forget it.
I am a totally different woman now.
I am confident. I'm unafraid of making mistakes. (As it turns out, looking totally ridiculous once in a while is NOT fatal.) I make decisions daily on behalf of my lab and advocate for graduate student interests (more free food!) in our department and the university. The possibility that I might be wrong doesn't prevent me from disagreeing with others on issues I feel strongly about but I can also let these differences of opinion run their course and maintain friendships with these people.
My life is blessed in so many ways. It's not that the refuge of the woods is any less beautiful. It's just that I have so many beautiful things in my life now that it's not an abnormality to enjoy one.