Change Happens

Listen. I’m excited for pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pumpkins (aka fall) as much as the next girl on social media. But does anyone else have the strange sense that we were just eating hotdogs and watching fireworks at our Fourth of July celebrations a couple of days ago? I mean, where did the summer go? It’s like I remember a long heat wave and then it all just goes blank…

And it’s in this strange amnesia that I walk around and notice that people are talking about how they can’t wait for it to be cold, and how they can already feel the crunch of leaves underfoot. (Underfeet??) And still, I’m all like, hold up! We have almost an entire month until that all happens. Why are you showing summer the door when she’s been (relatively) kind to you?

And alright, I admit it, I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for apple cider, and seeing my own breath, and mittens, and trees that look like they’ve been lit on fire, and trying desperately (but failing) to come up with a Halloween costume that doubles as social commentary. I was pretty sure that I could fight against the fall tide for a while, just a couple more weeks.

Until I saw it driving home the other day.

“It” was a small tree, maybe a few years post-sapling, standing quite proudly on the exit ramp. One little corner of her leaves had turned completely red and gold while the rest stayed as verdant as they had been in spring. It was like she was just a tiny bit embarrassed and had just started to blush.

And I thought, Not you too! It’s not even cold! 

But it made me realize something very quickly: change happens. No, really. You may not be ready for it. You may not even think that it should be happening. I surely didn’t think it was time for the leaves on the trees to start changing colors. But there it was, inarguable and steadfast, truly defying whatever internal clock I had been synced to. Change happens, whether you are ready or not. Whether you think it should or not. Whether you want it to or not. Even for that little tree. And especially for you.

So, whether it’s a change in the weather or a change in your life, you need to remember that change is inevitable. But whether you embrace it or resist it will always be up to you.

Watching Plants Grow

*Recycling an old post* Enjoy!

…is not as boring as you might think.

Now that the weather has hovered slightly higher than freezing for a few days, I’m going to call it: it’s springtime. The sunshine, the light breezes, the soft earth, the green grass; it is here to stay. Which is why we can all take off our mittens and gloves and start to flex our green thumb. What will it be this year? Pansies? Petunias? Portulaca? All of them, if need be!

This winter has been especially hard, so I am especially excited to plant something, but my mom and I always feel this way. My fondest memories are of planting tulip bulbs with her, naming every one so that they would have a better chance at growing. Then when we brought home our Stella, the night-blooming cereus, from my favorite professor, we felt that we had been given the crowning jewel of our garden.

So, why do I love flowers so much? Because they are a lesson in optimism.

Why? Well, have you ever watched a flower grow?

The progress it makes. The heights it reaches. The happiness it provides for others.

But the best part?

How it unyieldingly reaches toward the sun.

Because you can put a flower in a dark room with only the tiniest sliver, the most meager portion of sunlight. And somehow, some way, it has bent completely over backwards to make sure that it is in the path of those rays. Time after time, I have watched my mother’s plants stretch their new shoots toward the sun. So much so that she would have to turn them around so that they would even out, so that they did not become top-heavy from stretching too far to one side.

Now, I know that you are probably already like a flower in many ways. I’m sure you are beautiful. I’m sure you are self-sufficient. I’m sure you have roots. But do you go out of your way to live in the sunshine? Do you do everything you can to make sure that you have what you need to thrive? Do you try to lean into the light even when the darkness surrounds you?

If you don’t, plant a flower this springtime. Let it be your daily reminder. And if you need a serious push, try a cactus. Despite their prickly exterior, they need the most light of all and the least amount of care. (And if you don’t think that’s the best metaphor ever for people in general, then you can leaf.)

5 Weirdly Pleasurable Activities

Is there anything that really compares to the first sunburn of the summer? It’s usually awkward; a perfect inverse portrait of you wearing sunglasses or the bathing suit tan line that makes you realize how eenie weenie that bikini really was. The burn turns a vibrant red color and has its own heartbeat come nighttime. Then, the next day, you kind of look okay. The angry red has subsided, and your skin has a bit of a glow to it. Fast forward to the day after and you realize you’re peeling. Snowflakes made of you slough off and onto your clothes.

You’re immune to sunburn, you say? Well, you’re rather lucky in terms of the gene pool, but you are rather unlucky in another department: the weirdly pleasurable activity department. Let’s explore this strange utopia, shall we?

1. Peeling dead skin/Popping pimples

I’ve been told that both of these activities are not good to do and both are sort of gross. However, there is something endlessly satisfying about peeling a sheath of dead skin or popping a particularly stubborn pimple. I think lancing blisters also falls under this category, but that might just be me.

The Reason: People like to feel a sense of accomplishment. Before computers, I think popping a zit was the closest we could get to “instant gratification.”

2. Snapping Bubble Wrap

Way less repulsive than the first activity, everyone can experience some pleasure or relieve some stress by popping bubble wrap. But did you know “Bubble Wrap” is a brand name? It’s just like Xerox, Band-Aid, or Post-It! Weirdly enough, I feel especially satisfied when a bubble burst is particularly loud. Feel the urge to pop some bubble wrap right now? Do it here, virtually.

The Reason: Maybe bubble wrap is a metaphor; we let the air out to let our frustration out. Or, it’s just really, really fun.

3. Crunching Fall Leaves

Ah, the crisp fall air and the even crisper fallen leaves! When the trees drop their leaves in Autumn, I get a little sad to see the bare branches. But when I look down and see the dried, crackly leaves, I feel like a little kid again. It is very pleasurable to step on an especially brittle specimen. Like this one:


OOOOH, YES. SO CRUNCHY! (And a truly beautiful photo.)

The Reason: I have no idea. Crunchy leaves are a mystery all on their own.

4. Wiggling a Lose Tooth

Loose teeth are one of those weird pleasure pain moments. It hurts so good, sort of thing. The more you wiggle it, the more you sort of feel weird and good for doing it, which also describes about 95% of the moves I see on a dance floor in a club.

The Reason: I’m just guessing here, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that your body wants to get rid of the tooth, so it has to make it sort of interesting and desirable for you. I don’t know. Ask the tooth fairy? Or Tom Hank’s character in Castaway.

5. Smelling Books

I thought this was only me, but it turns out that many book lovers enjoy smelling their books. Don’t believe me? Check out this book perfume. It’s a bit pricey and a bit too strange, even for me, but for some book lover out there or lover of said book lover, this is paradise.

The Reason: It’s often said that there is some kind of chemical in paper that degrades and makes a book smell good. But the truth is, it has more to do with environmental factors and how the book is handled. Unfortunately, some books don’t smell all that comforting. They smell foul. So, be a cautious sniffer!

Need more weirdly pleasurable activities? Check out this Cracked article, and post your favorites in the comments!