But Why Can't I Always "Smell the Roses?" My Journey Towards Finding Balance:
Ah, the sweet smell of freedom—embodied perfectly by my current state of lazy bliss. As I type this blog post I am lounging in the ever sophisticated Temple coffee shop at 11am on a Monday morning; sipping on my over-priced earl grey tea and relishing in the aroma of my brother’s delectable poppyseed muffin. I am rested, relaxed and refreshed by my comparatively empty Monday schedule.
Now you may be thinking like I am: “Great, thank you Allie for combining unnecessary adjectives to boast about your current state of bliss—I really needed to hear that; 10/10 for inspiration and encouragement."
Rest assured sweet readers, the purpose of my introduction is not to boast but rather to contextualize this post. This morning, as you can undoubtably tell from my description, I am theoretically “smelling the roses” of life. The title: “Why Can’t I Always Smell the Roses?” came to me as I was walking to my car the day after my last final. Last Friday I felt as though a sheet had been lifted off my eyes as I ravished in the freshness that resulted from the fall showers.
However, what ironically hit me that morning was that the freshness had been around me for months, yet for the past 10 weeks I was too preoccupied to let myself relish in the rain drop’s euphoric scent.
As I hooped in my car that morning, I theoretically continued to “smell the roses,” as I began to appreciate simple things that I ordinarily overlook. I savored being an attentive and inquisitive listener in conversations that I previously deemed as a waste of productive time. I began spontaneously calling my siblings and ravished in bantering for hours without an agenda. I went to Starbucks without my timer (yes I use a timer for homework), or an impending deadline. And in the midst of the previous activities and so many more, I felt alive—and without my knowledge at the time, in retrospect I realize that beginning four days ago I gave myself permission to “smell the roses.”
But why did I find it necessary to validate simple indulgences only after I had successfully (I think) completed my first quarter at Cal Poly? Upon reflection of that question, I now realize that the answer to that complex question is surprisingly simple. I simple did/do not think I deserve to always smell the roses of life—or more simply put, to indulge or give myself a break without sufficient toil and external validation. But why?
The reason I justify restricting my ability to smell the roses of life is because I am my worst critic. Because I constantly feel like I need to validate my competence and work ethic. Because I compare and justify based on my ability to compete in the never ending race we affectionately call “the grind.”
Upon further reflection, my extreme and illogical transition from viewing the act of stopping to “smell the roses” as a road block to a virtue, (depending on the success of my prior grind) represents yet again my dependence on external, rather than eternal, validation.
Yes, there is virtue in working hard. Yes, there is beauty in setting goals and chasing after them. Yes, there is wisdom in knowing when to put your hand to the plow. But alternatively, I am coming to the realization that there is NOT virtue in letting yourself only “smell the roses” after externally and internally validating your sense of self through work.
In limiting my ability to experience the simple and indulgent little moments and things in life, I am in so many ways also limiting the expression of my thankfulness for the life and opportunities that God has so gracious given me.
If you are reading this dear reader and feel caught in the same lie/trap as me, please feel free to join me in my quest to theoretically“smell the roses” frequently and without restrictive terms and conditions. Here are two goals to start said quest:
- Journal at least once a day, (morning or night) about a “smell the roses” experience I had.
- Allow myself to indulge at least once a week in a simple indulgence hat I would otherwise classify as unnecessary preceded by sufficient toil or difficulty.