Sunday, January 9, 2011

growing up and kindness

Looking back at photos and being at home for so long makes me miss being little. I have some really distinct memories of my childhood like wandering through the mountains with my dad through caves of aspen groves and hearing my mom's footsteps on the stairs every morning to wake me up for school. These are really comforting memories for me, and they feel safe and happy. Being home after living somewhere else is now very nostalgic, I forget little things that I saw everyday and that happened on a consistent basis. Time flies and I don't even know it until I'm on the other end, looking back. In some ways, remembering these sorts of things makes me sad because I know I'll never get those moments back. Each year I am getting older, and so are my parents, and so are my siblings.

But I think one of the best parts of growing up is being able to remember and grow. I have a great relationship with my parents, who are two of my best friends. They know me really, really well. And it's because I have been able to build that relationship with them. I admire them truly, because growing up is difficult (for both parties). One of the hardest things about it, I think, is letting go. I can't imagine how hard it is for them to hear me tell them that I want to travel to all these places that can be quite dangerous. Or when they left me for my first week at college, or even letting me make serious life choices. But yet they support me and allow me to keep growing through my experiences.

And let me tell you another really amazing part of growing up: connecting with strangers. I feel like I'm luckier than most, or maybe just more aware. I tend to come across really, really incredible people. When I locked myself out of my car a year ago, a very kind man and son picked me up, fed me dinner, and unlocked my car for me. When I was staying in a hostel this summer, I met a man that told me all about his college life when he was studying to be a lawyer, and how the process was the best part of becoming his dream profession. I saw a lot of passion in his eyes, and he truly enjoyed what he was doing. And the best yet, I was in Target the other day, feeling a little down and frustrated. I was standing in an isle when I heard uncontrollable laughing. I looked over and a man was standing in the card section, bent over laughing about a card. He wiped tears from his eyes and just kept going in to fits of laughter. He just looked at me and we both started laughing. It's nice to see someone that happy about something so simple. It's nice to share a moment like that with someone.

I think thats what I keep learning about life the more I grow up: the more simplistically I live, the more I notice happiness. Money complicates. Too many possessions crowd. When I break it down, it's the smallest things like hearing my mom's footsteps coming down the stairs to wake me up or listening to my dad tell me bits of stories about his mountain adventures that completely captivates me and makes me content. It's sharing the moments when laughter is contagious, even over a card that I didn't read. It's looking at someone as their complete whole, flaws and all, and loving them anyways. It is capturing an intimate moment in time with a camera, just to hold it in your hand. It's seeing the magnificent-ness in someone's soul.

Kindness is happiness, and I am going to try to live my life as a more kind person.

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