Have you ever learned a life lesson and then had to repeat it because you forgot? This morning I was processing the feeling of not belonging with a friend when I was hit with an “Aha” moment that changed my perspective on the situation.
When I was in junior high, I returned to Chico to complete 8th grade. Due to living on 20th street, it geographically classified me as a Chico Junior student. I made some lifelong friends that year in school, but that was not true for the basketball team. There were two teams that year, and I earned a spot on the Chico Junior “A” team with a group of girls that were nice enough, but I just didn’t feel like I fit with them. Being young and inexperienced, I tried to make friends and it’s easy for me to get along, but it never felt right.
That summer I was approached by an AAU basketball coach that had gathered a team of players from Bidwell Junior, our opponents during the league season. Playing that summer sealed the deal for me. That group of girls would be moving on to attend Pleasant Valley High School and I decided that’s where I was headed too. There was never a moment that I second-guessed that decision. Those girls and their families welcomed me with open arms and we went on to play ball for years to come together. I still love my team members and am excited to run into them when I’m in Chico. They are my Viking family.
The thing about me is I grew up in a big family and I always crave the connection of community. It was devastating to my social life to move away from Chico as a young adult. Everyone I loved was now an hour and a half or more away. So naturally, I dug in to try to recreate a sense of belonging in my new town. I rambled around and provided my time and talent wherever I saw a need. Some things have stuck and I’ve let go of others. But being a sensitive and in-tune person, I’ve realized that not everything or everyone is a good fit. At some point, I have to cut my losses and move on to find my niche.
It’s taken me a lot longer to learn life lessons as an adult. Maybe it’s because one of my defects is that I don’t know when to quit. I cling. I force. I get swallowed up in self-will and I’m always forced to learn the hard way. It’s never that I lose love for that area that I was trying to insert myself into, but in the process, I beat myself up trying to figure out why it doesn’t feel right. Eventually, I gain an appreciation for what is not meant for me and then I shift gears.
The beautiful truth always shines brightly and fills me with hope again, as soon as I let go and embrace the lesson at hand. The freedom that meets me provides that gentle breeze for my wings to rest on so that I can glide easily into what serves me. With this realization, I can rest easy and look forward to being able to identify the pattern earlier the next time around.
Looking toward my 35th year of life, I see and value the time, talents and enthusiasm that embody me as a person. I’m truly one of a kind. Any organization, town, group, event, relationship, etc would be lucky to be blessed with what I bring to the table. I’ve taken to heart the idea that we only value what we invest in, and in order to maintain balance, the effort and energy have to flow both ways. I’m so grateful to learn these life lessons, even if it is for a second, third, or one-hundredth time. They never stop serving me. I grow each time and have the opportunity to blossom once again. How grand!