The wind never apologizes for being late.
They don’t call it the Windy City for nothing. So far while I’ve been here I’ve noticed that when you are walking through the city in the shadow of its many skyscrapers the air is funneled through these buildings and creates breezes at the base. This creates an unpredictable wind pattern for many Chicagoans and tourists and the way that each group deals with it has been quite interesting.
The ones who are used to it know when to lean into the wind and when to turn away. The tourists, well, they fight too much.
Those who master the wind know not to concern themselves with where the wind is going or where it’s coming from. They don’t concern themselves with trying to predict the wind or control where it goes or when and how it blows. They are able to live with the wind.
You have to learn to bend. The reed that bends in the wind is stronger than the oak that breaks in the storm.
People, relationships, things, they all get caught up in the breeze. They are whisked around. And if you stand too firm, if you never learn to yield, you will get hit, hard, every time there is a sudden gust that upends everything.
I was too firmly planted. I thought that to yield meant to surrender or to give up. I dug my roots far and wide and deep. My foundation is strong. I know who I am, what I want, what I love. But the wind is always stronger and I never learned how to bend.
A very common sight back home whenever there is a strong storm is afterwards you’ll see these huge, massive trees completely uprooted. The wind just tips them over because they are so large and so rigid. Often times you’ll see that these were mature trees with very large and complicated root patterns. If you ever venture into the woods you’ll know what I mean because you can see examples there too. Very heavy old trees toppled to the side and you can see just how intricate the roots had become. If you never learn to bend, like the tree, it will not matter how deep your roots go. You will fall. And when you do, all that your firmness has accomplished is bring up even more dirt, upset even more roots, and cause even more damage when you do. These are then the people who are around you who look to you for support and who support you. These roots become your passions and hobbies, which all take a hit when you lose yourself each time to hardship. The wider and more expansive your root system becomes, the more important it is for you to learn to bend with the wind to protect this delicate network from exposure and harm.
I wanted to become a teacher when I was younger. I never entertained any other career possibilities. I put all my eggs in one basket. Applied to one school. One program. One purpose. Through luck and work I made it through with my single-mindedness and I found myself as a high school English teacher right after college. I thought I was set and was getting ready to settle into my career. But the job did not fit my expectations. I was not doing what I loved or thought I would love. I was not in the school system I imagined teaching the level of students I expected. I did not know how to handle adversity and so after one year I left. And because I had never learned to be flexible I did not know what else to do or who else to become. I fell into a job as a travel agent because it was available and because it also would have given me the chance to travel and explore the world. But I am not a salesman, and I do not like the front lines. So once again I was ready to uproot myself and do something else. I would have been switching careers and companies three times in the past five years. But luckily I learned of this job within the company and now I am still in the travel business with all of its perks, still with the same company I was when I started, but now I am doing something that speaks to my strengths and passions, travelling across the country to all of our stores educating and training consultants in the field. The wind was strong and I was ready to snap. I was fortunate enough to at least bend slightly enough to give myself enough room to find this opportunity.
I wanted to be with someone. I didn’t concern myself with how I was finding these women or what I was looking for. I wanted to be a man in a relationship and the cost of the pursuit did not matter to me. I made woman after woman my projected ideal, trying to chase something I could only vaguely imagine. I was pursuing a goal with no shape or form, like trying to catch the breeze in your hands. It didn’t work with all my past relationships, it didn’t work with Beautiful, I didn’t get a chance with Bird, and normally I would have been jumping against the walls crawling out of my skin with panic and frustration. This did uproot me and I did snap and I have felt like my roots have been exposed to sun, wind, rain, and predators.
I am slowly learning to become more flexible. I am learning not to concern myself anymore with where the wind blows from or what it brings along with it. I let the wind blow because I know I cannot change it and I am prepared for when it does. I know when to lean into the wind, because there will be times when it will try to blow me off my path. I have my roots to plant me and remind me to stay the course and to stick to my foundations. I know when to yield to the wind because no gust is permanent and sometimes I must let it have its way, weather the storm, and know that it is better to bend and still be standing afterwards than to not and end up taken down.
Every obstacle, every opportunity, every beautiful woman who enters into my life, they are all gusts of wind. I do not have to control them, I can simply be and learn to appreciate the cool breeze on my face.
Oh Nicolas Cage, you magnificent bastard.
Man: 26 Loneliness: 15