This past weekend, I went on a weekend ‘retreat’ with my writer’s group in a small town a little bit inward from the SoCal coast. It was a group of seven of us, and we all know each other from our MFA graduate school writing program. They are my core friends here in Los Angeles, a city which can feel very isolating, so I am very grateful for them.
We had no set goals for our retreat, but I think the hope was that we would write a bit on our personal projects but also socialize and enjoy each other’s company.
We ended up getting no writing done, but it was well worth it. We played Cards Against Humanity, watched cheesy movies on VHS (like the classic Kevin Costner gem ‘Message in a Bottle’), drank wine, and told ghost stories. Basically it was a sleepover for adults.
One of the best activities was organized by my friend (who shall remain nameless in case she wants to stay humble about her amazingness), but basically, we took thirty minutes and each filled out a set of questions about everyone else in the writer’s group. They were questions like “What are this writer’s greatest strengths?” “If this writer was down, what would you say to him/her?” and “Which literary/film/TV character does this writer most remind you of?.” Suffice to say, it was awesome. Imagine getting feedback like that from 7 of your peers who truly care about you and are genuinely filling out these papers in a spirit of love. It’s great and fills your heart bucket.
It was such a cool exercise that not only brought us together, but helped us compare how we saw ourselves with how our friends viewed us.
The same friend who organized the activity told me something that has resonated strongly with me ever since the retreat. She said, “Bloom where you are planted.”
How beautiful is that?
It was the perfect time for me to hear that. Because lately, I’ve been wondering how I got to where I am. I am working a job that doesn’t utilize my skill sets or passion, and I sometimes find myself wondering if I should be further along by now. When I see pictures of friends’ babies and growing families on Facebook and Instagram, I can’t help but feel a tinge of fear. Perhaps I won’t be lucky enough to have a family of my own, when it’s something I so desperately want.
But I remind myself that you must work to love the life you have. So I guess the gist of this all is – we may not be where we want to be in our 30s. But I believe we’re always exactly where need to be to absorb whatever lesson we are meant to learn. So why not learn to be the flower that blooms out of hardscrabble soil?