i always wanted to be good at a sport and never was… gymnastics was no exception. the one thing i did learn however, was that in order to be flexible, you had to stretch. the same is true with life. it turns out i am more flexible in the real world than i was in the high school gymnastics room.
the way i see it, angry and annoying situations are opportunities to stretch; to expand your patience, to lengthen your fuse. i see the future, challenges, opportunities, and new adventures as a chance to stretch so that you can be bigger than you currently are, so that you can do more than you originally thought. in these instances, you must rise to the challenge, take that leap of faith, and simply believe that you can do it. and i try to stretch and view each failure, setback, and disappointment i experience as progress. as proof that i am trying something, and as evidence that i moving forward and learning.
literally and figuratively, i stretch every day. in the gym, i do it before and after a work out; outside of the gym, i stretch while waiting in line, when getting bumped and nudged in a subway, when i don’t callback for a job, and when things don’t go according to plan. i stretch when i am too scared to try and when i think i can’t do it. i stretch when i am sad, and even when i am happy. after all, the more you stretch, the more flexible you become.
throughout this summer of stretching, i have discovered that my flexibility has increased. i used to be an obsessive planner where i would make an hourly schedule for my day; although i felt extremely organized (and it often made me more productive), i usually had a meltdown, minor panic attack, or adverse reaction to major (and especially minor) disruptions. i used to act as if being late was the end of the world. and while i still prefer being early to arriving late, my stretching has allowed for some minor hiccups in my life. what you practice is what you become, and how hard you practice influences how good you are able to be. everyday is practice. my practice has led me to stop planning things out and accept the way they come. in fact, this summer i learned that plans often interfered with just living. of course some plans are necessary at certain points, but sometimes what is most necessary is being able to live, let go, accept the situation, and remain optimistic when things don’t work out the way you anticipated and hoped for.
after ending my summer internship in NYC, i came to chicago with no plans. all i knew was that i was going to see friends from all parts of my life and from all of my homes. i did just that and more. i had conversations and laughed about high school, i ate new food, and saw new things. i got to sit in on my friend’s lives and discover absolute appreciation and happiness in the simplest of days. flexibility has allowed me to take advantage of this little vacation, and enjoy the moment-regardless of what it is. the stretching and flexibility have also brought about openness–from sitting in a lecture hall to eating at a restaurant by myself for the first time, i have loved every minute of this vacation. but most importantly, however, has been my friends’ flexibility. from finding ways to make studying fun, to meeting up with me in short notice, to changing their work schedule, my trip has been as amazing as it was because they adjusted. because they were flexible, and because they found a way to make it work. i have a lot to learn from that.
i’ll be able to do that standing back-handspring one day :). and in the meantime, i’ll adjust my sails in the wind and take life as it comes.
today (and this week) was meaningful because i did just that.
how flexible are you?