It is drear city here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as the days of March plague us with unsuspecting bouts of wind and cold and rain. It’s not my favorite, but I have hope that spring is around the corner. I find myself searching for signs of new life everywhere I go; traipsing up to the Baer barn to look for kittens, checking the goats’ bellies for signs of labor, walking by the park and looking for daffodils. Can you hear the cheesy Disney music playing behind me? I can.
Spring means fresh starts and fresh starts are something I’ve long been addicted to. This isn’t necessarily a good thing; reinventing oneself becomes increasingly ineffective if you’re doing it every few years…or months. I did it here, and then here and (oh my) again here. I suppose it’s easier to start fresh than admit and accept your shortcomings. What’s funny is that as much as we reinvent, most often we end up right back where we began. Our best hope is that we’ve tweaked our habits enough to walk a little lighter and inspire hope for more change.
This spring I’m focusing less on fresh starts and more on living in the present. The next few years are going to be hard. Hopefully not “my house was just washed away by a tidal wave hard,” but I’m sure it will be daily struggle to stay positive. Having a child or having your spouse go to medical school are not death sentences in themselves, but the combination is something I’m trying to be realistic about.
Living presently simply takes the pressure off tomorrow. But what does it look like? Most of it has to do with mind control. How many times are we experiencing something great, as in “This is such a great cookie!” or “I’m in Paris!”, and in the same breath looked ahead and cried, “I will run out of cookies!” or “I need to come back here!” What I need to remind myself is that I am in Paris and I’m eating a fabulous cookie and need to enjoy it!
Obviously this is impossible all the time, but it’s a mantra that’s worth repeating even if it only helps in a small way. If only we could somehow come up with a magic combination for living in the moment. For one thing, it would make aging much easier. Next week I head into my “late twenties” as my sister likes to remind me, not something I’m necessarily celebrating. I haven’t done enough, seen enough, grown enough–right? Or maybe I have and I’m not appreciating it. Regardless, I’m sure I should have spent less time looking forward and backward.
So maybe I am reinventing myself by trying to live in the present, but isn’t that what spring accidentally does? Perhaps you’re doing it too. Most of us have lived through at least a few decades of springs, and yet this season hits us each year with an unexpected excitement and revival of life. Science could not come up with a better serum for inspiring change. Carpe Diem.
It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! -Mark Twain