The Sunflower in The Sidewalk

The Sunflower in The Sidewalk

Blossoming in unexpected ways.
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As the summer progresses, move-in day becomes closer and closer and my anxiety level increases. This will be my first year of college and the first time I am away from home. It will feel unnatural to me and that is scary. Everything is new and different but, in a way, this could potentially be a blessing. I have the opportunity to grow into whoever I aspire to be. It has taken me a long time to feel this way, but I am slowly becoming more excited, rather than anxious, about going off to college in the fall.

That shift happened suddenly when I was not expecting it. Earlier today, I was driving to meet my friend for lunch. She graduated last year, and just finished up her freshman year of college. I was excited to hear her advice and as I drove along, I noticed there was a sunflower growing out of one of the cracks in the sidewalk along the small Cape Cod town that I call my home. My first thought was that it was really odd. Then I was curious as to how it got there. It was this tall, bright, beautiful sunflower growing out of a rigid, gray crack in the worn-down sidewalk. At this point, I was far past the beautiful plant, but I could not stop thinking about it. I figured a seed blew from the field of sunflowers down the road and landed in the crack of the sidewalk. It was then watered from the rain and slowly grew into a tall flower. People probably pass the sprout and do not give it a second thought, but I could not stop thinking about it.

That little seed was transported in the ocean breeze and away from a field of its own type. These seeds all had one home base and were then dispersed to all ends of the sunflower field, except for the one lonely sunflower in the sidewalk. This little seed had spent all of its life in one spot, with the same group, until the day it was blown away. This seed was then brought to the place where it would grow and thrive. At that time, there was no way of telling if the seed would actually take root and blossom. There was not much soil, as it was mainly sand in between the cracks in the Cape Cod sidewalk. This flower took root in its new home and made the most of what it was given. Although it lacked fertile soil, it used all of the nutrients provided and the water from the rain in order to blossom into a gorgeous plant. It would have been easier for the seed had it stayed in the garden and was watered daily, but it would have just been one in the crowd. The move to the sidewalk allowed it to stand out and flourish independently. The sunflower was bright and beautiful, even though it was growing in a tough spot.

I decided that I, too, would be like the sunflower in the sidewalk. I know these next four years will allow me to grow and become bold and successful. I am prepared to leave behind the place and people that have surrounded me for most of my life. I am leaving my comfort zone and entering a new environment. Even if this new place does not have the conventional nourishment that I may receive at home from my family, I will absorb everything and take advantage of all opportunities. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." I am ready to take root in this next chapter of my life and I am excited to blossom into the best version of myself.
Cover Image Credit: Tula Krystal

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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