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‘I’m 20 years old and nothing makes a whole lot of sense’

I’m 20 years old and nothing makes a whole lot of sense. I sipped my coffee slow this morning, two cups.

As I looked out into the stillness of my backyard, I knew it was going to be a good day to write, I could sense clarity when it graced me with its presence.

I pulled my hair back into a French braid, the tail swooped over my right shoulder.

Nothing fancy.

I didn’t know where I was going, I just wanted to drive and listen to The Lumineers, I just wanted to be outside in the warm sunshine with my aviators on and the windows down.

I needed to feel in control, it’s something I haven’t felt in a good while.

I drove into town and bought some sunflowers, made small talk with the cashier and grabbed an iced latte from a small coffee shop on my way home.

The month of April was sliding through my fingers as the heat moved in, I longed to forsake this moment and return to the chill January brought me, but I could not and the aging of time reminded me that I have to make decisions about my future.

After laying the flowers across the kitchen counter, I began to cut them down. Stem by stem I sliced and they snapped, I thought of how sad it is to compromise something beautiful just to make it your own.

People are a lot like these flowers in this way, I am a lot like store-bought flowers in this way. Constantly altering myself to accommodate the needs of the next person, while slowly losing identity in adjusting my personality for the comfort of another.

I am a sunflower whose length is shortened with each chop, will I ever know who I am?

At the age of 17, I graduated high school on a warm May afternoon, my feet were sweating, slipping out of these dumb, tan wedges I bought specifically for the occasion. I walked out in these same shoes feeling the same way I walked in, being told I had accomplished something but I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I’ve been in college for three years, and it’s a lot like those dumb, tan wedges. My feet had blisters that night, those shoes were not good for me but I insisted and so I pushed and pushed.

Education is a great thing, most of it essential, however I wonder if we are losing our humanity in the process. I have to wonder if we are people anymore when we’re working to pay for school, going to school to get a better job, getting a better job so we can pay off school.

A day like today made me very thankful for my independence, without it I wouldn’t know what kind of flowers I like or what kind of coffee I wanted to order. I felt beautiful with my hair pulled back because I said so, not because anyone else did.

I have had a congregation of slow moments filled with curiosity, wonder, and little direction, in my life. I’ve learned that it’s so good to fall in love with things, with sunrises or sunsets, wave currents or riptides, it seems most of us have lost sight of who we are.

Some days I want to be a surgeon, other days I want to open my own coffee shop with book shelves upon the walls, some days I want to purchase a ticket to Kenya and put my bare feet into the clay-like sand and dance with little children.

I am not alone, sunflowers are typically grown in rows, in vast fields.

Maybe you’ve been told to grow up, to focus, to hurry up and decide. It didn’t have to come from the outside, it could have come from within.

But if you are a sunflower whose length is shortened with each chop, will you ever know who you are?

We are different patterns, breeds, shapes and sizes. Used for different purposes, hosts of different seasons. We are filled with folly, beauty, anger, love, envy, appreciation, fear, trust, and it’s not to be taken lightly. You might not know where you’re going, but you can get lost in what you love regardless and maybe, just maybe that’s when opportunity knocks.

Grow little flower, it’s a big, big world. One with no one qualified to limit your capabilities.

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