Today I turn 22 years old. When I was young, I never thought I’d turn 20. As a child, you imagine yourself to remain steady forever, never transitioning into a teenager, let alone an adult. Obviously, this is not the case.
I like my birthday a lot, in fact, I love it. I look forward to it before December even rolls around. My birthday is something I get excited about. It is a day that feels like my very own, though hundreds (probably thousands) of other people have the same birthday.
As I turn 22 and reflect, I’m ready to get a little bit philosophical.
Humans are just like bonsai trees. We are both living entities, though our pace of growth and aging differs quite drastically. Bonsai trees grow slowly, monumentally gradually. This is just one quality that makes them unique. Their trunks and branches twist, bend, and curve in appealing projections. Many times, like the image above shows, they lean to one side, favoring to grow in wondrous ways.
Humans grow much more speedily and every set of 24 hours changes us in some way. Each day impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The effect it has on us can be positive or negative.
Bonsai trees take their time. They don’t progress on an established schedule. In contrast, as people, taking our time can be daunting. Our lives are fast paced, each day bleeding into the next, weeks blending together as if they were never separate. The years, too, race by us at warp speed.
Out of all the things we want, we often wish for them to be in our presence right then and there. The wait is something we wish to skip, bypassing without a glance, thought, acknowledgement. We yearn for something we don’t want to wait for in our careers, academic life, personal life, and other aspects.
Maybe we should look toward a bonsai’s qualities and allow them to inspire us and lead us toward living more happily and fully. All good things take time, as I have learned most this past year. Those good things are always worth while. All the things we want to last forever, shouldn’t be pushed, rushed, but rather cared for mindfully and cherished indefinitely.
The bonsai takeaway? Enjoy the slow process.
Immerse yourself and appreciate the steps and the moments of moving toward something desired. Simply soak in all the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Because everything that happens to you, for you, with you, and even against you, is all part of the story.
And one day, you will be able to reflect upon your life as a whole and admire your progression, your accomplishments, your growth, and you will realize how much your life replicates the shape of a bonsai.
Bonsais are their own kind of beauty. And with each millimeter added to them, they are not afraid to grow a little quirky and be a little bit like themselves.