The Best Advice I Ever Received

There is a tree right outside the door of my house. When I was little it was tall and had leaves every shade of green. It was the tree that greeted me as I walked in every day after school and it waved its branches goodbye as I left to college only a couple of months ago. The difference is that last time I saw the tree, it no longer had leaves. It had been slowly wilting and looked sad and lifeless. It witnessed the world around him change and grow while he was in the same place without the chance to experience the world that lay before it. 

As I was growing up my mom always told me that I should be thankful that I wasn’t a tree. As I cried because something was changing- moving from 3rd to 4th grade, my brother leaving for college, my cousin moving to the US- my mom would sit me down and remind me that I wasn’t a tree. As strange as that might sound to you, that was exactly what she would say. Trees stay in the same place forever, looking at the world beyond their reach and hoping that one day they can explore the opportunities that lay before them. Sometimes they change from winter to spring to summer and fall but aside from that trees don’t have the chance to do what we do. To move around, explore, adapt and experience all the things the world has to offer.

When things change, when I feel life will never be as good as it was before, when people leave and something different becomes part of my new “normal” I think to myself that while trees do not have the control of what happens to them and how they live in certain situations, I do! I can make the decisions of how I want those changes I have no control over to affect me. Through it, I saw the event of my brother going to college as the opportunity to visit a new place more often. I saw my cousin’s move to the US as a chance to get even closer to her by Skyping her endlessly on weekends. I saw moving to college as a chance to grow academically and emotionally. 

So, when life seems to be changing uncontrollably and you feel like you can’t handle it all, remember the best advice I ever received. You are not a tree. You can change, move around and adapt to whatever comes your way. Although you do not have complete power over what happens to you, you do have control over how you deal with it. While back at home my favorite tree has become an old tree trunk, I have had the chance to do what it didn’t. I’ve done my best to embrace change and adapt to all the things the world throws at me and to continue doing that I just need to remember that I am not a tree.