The day after Christmas I found myself sitting around a table with friends. This may seem like a normal thing, but it was kind of a big deal. 6 years. 6 years since we had all been in one room together. And it was like we hadn’t been apart.
Except it was my friends and their significant others. And to top it off they all have houses. Houses. I live with my parents, whom I love and am grateful for, but I’m also almost 30.
I’m used to being the single and financially challenged friend. At this point in my life, well, it is rather common to find myself being a third or in the case above, seventh wheel. I’ve gotten used to not having my own place and traveling to go to others’ places, so that they can host things. Only sometimes do I get a pang in my gut, like I’m being left out of the club that I wasn’t invited into. It’s never something on my friend’s part that makes me feel this way.
I get so caught up on the negative. On what I don’t have that my friends have. It’s sort of like when it was my sister’s birthday as children and she got all the toys. Yes, I knew it was her birthday and it was her turn to get the toys, but it didn’t mean that I wasn’t jealous.
I know that I’m a late bloomer in many scenarios of life, but sometimes I think some of my lateness is by the choices I have made. For example: I chose to go to grad school. I chose to pay for it with loans. I chose a degree in fine arts. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to find a job with that degree. The amount of times I’ve been asked, “what are you going to do with that?” could pay for my student loans.
That choice has led me to where I am now financially, and I accept that (mostly). But like on my sister’s birthday, I’m still jealous of those whose turn it is to have the things even though I know all the reasons why I don’t have them.
Mulan is also a late bloomer. It’s like a whole motif in the movie.
She has her moment of self-doubt or whatever you want to call that pang (sometimes it’s more than a pang), but she also chooses to go her own path. She realizes what she has, what she can do and does it. Watch her moment of clarity.
That’s why Mulan is such a good role model. She finds her own path, her own way to bloom. What is the emperor says? “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
This new year I’m going to focus on what I do have and if I don’t have something I want, well, I’ll figure out my own way to get it. So next time when my friends and I are together again (it better not be another 6 years from now), I won’t worry about how far behind in life I am compared to them. Instead I’ll be able to share what I’m doing with my life and how proud I am of it. I’ll be my own flower – full bloom.