Giving a Carnation

This weekend was definitely one for the books! It was great to spend time with family that I don’t get to see too often…aunts, cousins, and even my Abuela who came all the way from Colombia! Between attending my cousin’s graduation and watching the World Cup, not a moment went by that I wasn’t grateful to be with such an amazing and unique family. Needless to say, I’m very excited to see some of them again in a few months 🙂

But as I write this, I sit in an airplane on my way back to Tampa with a man asleep on my shoulder…but I’m happy. I’m happy I got to remember and experience what’s important in life. I’m happy I got to be with those I love even if it was only for a few short days.

And for some reason, I become very inquisitive when I’m happy. I like to think about why I feel that way because I crave happiness. I think we all do. There’s simply nothing like it. Aside from getting to see my family, I think a lot of my joy has to do with the valedictorian’s commencement speech I heard at the graduation. It was impactful that it’s been stuck in my head since the moment she walked off stage. I want to share it’s essence with you today.

I’d never be able to do her speech justice, but its message was very simple: Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and do what feels right. Don’t be scared to try new things. Don’t worry about starting a new chapter in life. Life will change. New things will be presented to you at every step along the way. Life will get hard and you’ll have to pick yourself up sometimes. Life will also be beautiful. You’ll have many highs and achieve many things. You’ll celebrate and laugh. You’ll hug and be merry. Life will be a grand ride, but in all of it, don’t forget to love. Don’t forget to give your affection to those around you because that’s where true meaning lies. That’s where lasting memories are created. That’s the secret to life.

And to finish, she placed a carnation under every graduate’s seat. She told them to give it to someone they loved. She told them to cherish that person, lean on them in times of need, and celebrate with them in times of victory.

When I think about it, that little flower held so much meaning. Yes, it was a representation of love, but there was more to it. That carnation represented everything true love embodies…trust, empathy, compassion, understanding, support, etc. It represented what words could never say.

And for some reason, I can’t help but think about how neglectful we are to only give our loved ones a carnation every once in a while. It’s usually only on days like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day that a lot of us tell our parents how much we appreciate them. We wait until birthdays and weddings to voice our emotions. But why is that?

Personally, I think it’s because we are too busy chasing things that aren’t important in life. We want the cars, house, money, and fame. We sacrifice time with our loved ones in pursuit of these possessions…and then we end up watching our relationships fade away.

In a way, it’s easier to chase the material things than it is to cultivate strong connections. These days we are all about time, and it often takes a lot less effort to succeed in school/work than it does to be the person our friends need us to be. It’s easier to stay late at work than it is to come home and be with family. So we fall into a trap…our priorities become misaligned and the carnation withers.

So how do we counteract that? Well, I think we can all learn from our grandparents. Seeing my Abuela this weekend reminded me how important it is to slow down. That woman does nothing fast…she takes an hour to eat because she likes to savor her food. She talks with so much “flavor” and eloquence that I’m forced to listen to every word. She’s never in a hurry. All she wants to do is relax and be with me as long as possible. She makes me feel loved.

I think it’s time for all of us to slow down a little bit. We need to savor the moments that truly matter in life. We need to cultivate our relationships. We need to find true meaning and joy. Most of all, we need to slow down often enough that it becomes second nature.

Once we stray from the path and begin to wander, the harder it is to find our way back. So let’s stay on the right path. Let’s use our family and friends as walking sticks to support us. Let’s hold their hands as we traverse the rocks and fallen trees. Let’s embrace them as we jump off waterfalls into seas of unknown, and let’s dance with them on the beach.

Most importantly, let’s give them a carnation today.

I hope this post was insightful for you! Thank you for reading and don’t forget to like, share, and comment. I loved all the support I received on my last post. It meant the world to read all the comments, texts, and DMs. I truly have the best readers in the world 🙂

Happy Monday and let’s hope this man wakes up soon…

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