“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
The other day I spoke to my favorite 14-year old. In perfect teenage fashion, she was lounging in her room, babysitting her brother and detailing her excitement for the end of the school year. We did social studies homework, found frustration with end of school year insanity, dreamed about travel and talked of the utter joy she gets from her passion for horses. And then, unknowingly, she paid me the best compliment ever. She called me ‘earthy’ and seemed to light up at the thought of taking time out of the day to go to yoga and find an ease. She has no idea how big my heart smiled at that very instant.
It’s been years since my travel adventures began and for much of that special teenager’s lifetime, I’ve been on a journey to the ‘me’ of today. Her mother (with whom I’ve been friends for over 3 decades) has witnessed the journey from start to present. The teenager sees the path I’m on today. She doesn’t see the anxious teenager, the twenty-something who was stunted by fears or the thirty-something who was a bit timid to head off to those far-flung places on a plane alone and had close to no courage to leap.
She sees me for who I am today (still truly a work in progress) and for that I am forever grateful. In her eyes, I’m a former teacher, free-spirited traveler and yogi who looks for the joy, smiles at those simple things and spends her best days in flip-flops. She put the headband, the braids the desire for the ease and making the choice to live where we want in a positive category, without judgment, without flinging us in a past box or seeing anything other than a close friend of the family who loves her, her siblings and her awesome parents. Me – earthy – I love it!
In that one sentence – she reminded me of this journey’s constant path, how there are twists, turns, chaotic whirls and how hopefully along the way we get to encounter trails of epic calm. She reminded me to take a step back and embrace the journey, be proud of the lessons learned and to continue to focus on those positive shifts that bring me joy. She reminded me that being happy in your own skin matters, choosing to live your best life is noticeable to those who pay attention, making a difference in the lives of others is always important to me and that those around you who listen, really do see. She may ask me for help with her social studies homework – but this 14 year old teaches me more than she’ll ever know. Forever grateful to those who let us in, those who share their lives and the lives of their families and to the lessons that pop up when you least expect them.