Last Saturday, my mother arrived for her first visit to see us in Australia – a trip that has been planned for months. Of course, the unplanned part was us finding our home and moving two days after her arrival. Over boxes and several glasses of wine, we started to reminisce about life.
We laughed about all the times my brothers made me ride no-handed on my old banana seat bike down this hill near where we lived. All the kids in the neighborhood would go as fast as they could, crossing a neighborhood intersection at the bottom. How we never got hit by a car is beyond me!
On one particular adventure down the hill, I hit the bottom and headed straight for the curb in an attempt to slow down. I went head over feet. Every inch of me hit something – concrete or the front yard of the home on the corner. My older brother picked me up to carry me, while my younger brother walked our bikes home. As we arrived, bloodied and teary-eyed, our mother was not pleased.
Growing up, my brothers were always asking me to jump out of a tree, participate in some silly prank, or to do a variety of other things that would usually land me in some sort of physical pain. I don’t know what it was about riding a bike without hands, but no matter how many times I would try, I simply did not have the skills to master the technique. My failed attempts made my brothers laugh, and known to never turn down a dare, I would cave when they would taunt me to try it again.
She looked at my older brother and said, “Enough! You are cleaning up her wounds this time!” There I sat on the edge of the bathtub with my skinned knees and elbows, bleeding. My brother giggling as he doctored up my bloodied limbs.
We had a good laugh as we remembered that moment. I even think there is a photo in an old box somewhere documenting it.
The conversation quickly turned from laughs about childhood memories, to all the years and moments that brought me here – living in another country, unpacking boxes in our new home and fulfilling a dream of raising our children abroad and instilling in them a global perspective.
We started talking about all the different seasons in life and the people who have been with us for just a short time and those who have traveled with us, no matter where the journey has led.
It reminded me of the time one of my friends, someone I had known since high school, told me I had changed. I was in my 20’s at the time and had just moved back from the West Coast. I wondered why this was a bad thing. Life, experience, struggles – they are all ways in which we can grow and evolve. But, I realized in that moment that not everyone wants to change. Sometimes people you love dearly will resist change and be upset with you when you are no longer the version of yourself that they expect you to be.
The evolution of the human spirit – a collection of years and experiences that make up each of our stories, changing us and allowing us to grow into the people we are meant to be. Along the way, we are gifted lessons and learning experiences to guide us on the path that will eventually bring us to exactly where we are supposed to be.
Each season presents teachable moments and opportunities to grow.
Shortly after graduating from college, I packed all my belongings into my car and headed west. My sister would be waiting for me when I finally arrived. But, as I pulled out from the driveway that day, I looked back to see my brother’s faces.
It was the first time I experienced that look – the one where you are leaving everything familiar behind and part of doing so is leaving the people you wish you could take with you.
When you walk away from everything familiar, you open yourself up to a new life, new experiences, and to receive the gift of reflection.
This week, let’s all take a moment to write a letter to ourselves to say thank you. Find a few key moments in your own journey and allow yourself be thankful for them, reflect on everything that has brought you exactly to this moment. What have you learned? How have you grown? How have you changed?
Embrace your evolution!
Cheers to a new week and new opportunities to challenge ourselves to grow.