One of my favorite English expressions is “stop and smell the roses.” It basically means you have to slow down and pay attention to the things around you. Another is “don’t rest on your laurels” which means you shouldn’t rely on past achievements to get along. What is it about the English language and idioms? It’s almost like it was meant to confuse people. After all, what good would smelling flowers do to someone who is very busy? If you really wanted to rest on something, wouldn’t you be more comfy in a fluffy chair?
Hold on. Before anyone reacts, I just want to make two things clear: (1) I know expressions are not meant to be taken literally and (2) I also know that laurels were these things used for recognition back in Ancient Greece. (I have a point here somewhere. I just need a little time to get to it.) If you think about it, these expressions are there for a reason. It got me a little confused. Which one should I follow? Should I keep running for that goal or should I take time to appreciate the things that I’ve accomplished so far?
I must say that today was a good day as far as Mondays go. The work load wasn’t as heavy as the past few weeks and they put me on the mid shift which means I can walk home without losing half the water in my body. Minutes before I logged out, something interesting happened. I was helping this friend of mine carry a couple of heavy workbooks to class when a trainee suddenly asked me a question.
“That’s not a very polite question.” said their trainer.
“No. It’s just that I’ve seen you around and honestly, you look eighteen. How old are you?”
I was a little tired and I didn’t really care anymore about losing my credibility and stuff so I returned the question to her. “How old are you?”
“We’re the same age then.”
When I got a moment alone, I looked in the mirror and wondered what exactly tipped me off this time. Most days, I feel like an imposter, trying to fit in with the rest of the world. Maybe it’s my hair or how I didn’t tuck my shirt in today. Maybe it’s all the sleep I got last night or the fact that I’m getting a little fat. Maybe (just maybe) it was the fact that yes, I am only 22.
I brushed it off, logged out and walked home. The street was dimly lit but not too dark to notice something moving, err leaping near my foot. It was a huge toad about the size of my fist and it was trying to get to this plant box where all the yummy flies were (or whatever it is toads leap for at midnight). The problem is it kept falling down because the plant box was pretty high. The poor thing just kept hitting the wall. If he had only paced a little further, he would’ve seen a little mound of cement that he could used to boost himself up. As I walked away, he was still at it- trying to get to higher ground but instead, falling flat on his face.
I was almost home when it suddenly hit me. I should stop fighting my youth. I know I’ve strongly expressed my desire to grow up immediately* but at the same time, I already am. Every day, I’m inching closer to 23. Years from now, when I look back to this part of my life, I don’t want to remember how I hated myself for being young. Hello world. I’m 22. Deal with it.
Being said that I am 22, I asked myself which expression I should imbibe. Should I rest on my laurels or stop and smell the roses? I realized that it should be a healthy mix of both. I need to acknowledge that yes, I do have laurels. It’s not as big or as plenty as the next guy’s but I still have them. I fully intend to smell the roses until I sneeze from all the pollen. The roses are oh so sweet and come to think of it, I worked hard for them. Hopefully, the toad in me will stop jumping at that damn wall in time to find that the cement mound is right around the corner. There’s no need to rush. Time is on my side.
Semi-update. I finally got to go to the beach and I’m happy to report that a little provincial air actually did me some good. The beach wasn’t exactly swim-mable but my work friends and I had fun in our pseudo-team building anyway. We took tons of pictures (this one was from my phone’s camera so the color’s aren’t that nice) which I’ll post real soon. The writing’s coming along pretty well, too and I’m going to post a story snippet just as soon as I get some outside perspective on it. This was definitely a gold star day!*