March in the Rocky’s is perpetually inconsistent. Last weekend, clad in t-shirt and sunglasses, I spent a day biking through enchanting corners of the city, stopping for a bit of ice cream as the temperature-perfect sun draped over the afternoon. Today, roads are closed and the inches of snow continue to stack higher and higher as the hours pass. Although often a cause of frustration, the ever-changing weather of spring in the mountains has recently become, for me, an embodied symbol of the segments of my life.
Life emphatically has its phases. It has to; phases that mirror the undulating quality of the human character. Over the years, I have come to find that I am very good at observing my current phase. Observing it, yes, but where I struggled is then juxtaposing it with other phases. There are elements for sure that are good about every phase, and certainly elements that aren’t and recently I have become fearful that the positive fragments of former phases are lost…
This terrifies me. Terrifies and potentially paralyzes and sometimes produces resistance, avoidance or resentfulness. But the other day, I met someone who helped me; giving me a solid dose of perspective. And it all started with a quote that this eccentric 14 year old has come to cherish. The quote goes something like this:
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” –Ralf Waldo Emerson
My helper is a soul who has seen so many drastically different phases in his short life already. Some of these phases have produced in him diagnoses that have in turn dictated where he lives, who his guardians are and what his prospects of an adult life might look like. Some of his phases he doesn’t want to remember, some of them he can’t remember and some of them he can’t even begin to forget.
But what they all have in common is that they are behind him. And although so many adults in his life keep asking him what’s next, he can’t really answer that question. At first glance he could come across as directionless, apathetic and perhaps confused. But I have to tell you that being in the same room as this person impacted me dramatically, primarily because he had an immense presence that radiated with assurance that he knew exactly who he was in that moment. As if he knew some big secret about what lies inside of him that made doubting himself impossible.
I want to be like this. Fortified by the fragments of my past that have woven the fabric of my personality, that although do not continue to have a physical presence in my life, contribute greatly to the strength, agility and creativity that lies within me; indisputably imprinting my future.