Today is the Summer Solstice. As the longest day of the year, it is traditionally a celebration of life, light, and the beginning and completion of the cycles of life. Throughout history, people have held rituals and ceremonies to celebrate and honor the Solstice, the Sun’s life-giving force, and our connection to all living things on Earth.
In accordance with the spirit of the Solstice, I have spent much time today and leading up to it, reflecting on my life path thus far- as well as considering the direction I wish for my path to take in the future.
One of the themes I keep coming back to during this reflection is regret and growth in our imperfect human lives. I have always regretted the many reprehensible actions and misbehaviors of my past- yet I am now finally ready to forgive myself, honor my life path thus far, and move forward.
As a teacher and mentor for almost a decade, I am now very familiar with child behavior and development. I know now that many of my regular asshole tendencies during my formative years was mostly my inability to maturely cope with my own insecurities.
The more insecure I was in myself- the more outlandish and aggressively I behaved. Conversely, as I’ve grown older, the more comfortable, accepting, loving, and forgiving I have been with myself, the more I’ve able to more maturely cope with life’s stressors- large and small.
Although I’ve spent much of my adult life regretting how I behaved in my past, I realize now that it helped me better understand the children I teach and mentor. While our specific circumstances and behaviors differ, we are similar: our immature coping behaviors caused pain to ourselves and those around us.
As an adult, I’d like to say that I’ve completely outgrown childish behavior patterns, but alas, this is not the case. When I feel like I am acting untrue or unloving to myself, or when I am unsure or fearful about major aspects of my life- I still find myself becoming irritable and acting unkind to those around me. However, I am very much not alone. I see this ringing true among the adults in my personal life, as well as those leading our country.
I will probably always feel at least somewhat ashamed for my misbehavior, and I will never condone or dismiss all the many misguided actions taken by myself and the rest of humanity- due to our immature responses to pains, fears, and insecurities. But, I want us all to remember that all of humanity is beautifully flawed. All of us have and will continue to have twists and turns in our path that do not make us proud. While there is nothing that can be done about the past, we can choose to move forward in a more compassionate and empathetic manner. We can remember we are all wonderfully imperfect humans that have the opportunity to constantly learn and grow.
On this Summer Solstice, I think I’m finally ready to acknowledge this, forgive, and move forward. Today, I celebrate and honor my life path, in all its imperfection- and ask that we all do the same.