This is the time of my life when I am able to flourish. I am a late bloomer, like the ugly duckling.
Once upon a time, there was a family of ducks. They had a daughter that was uglier than all the other ducks. She was clumsy, she didn't fit in, she was not the same color as the other ducks. The ducks were very frustrated with her. She finally gave up trying to fit in and moved away to the big city.
There she found a family of ostriches. she didn't fit in with them very well, but they were sympathetic because they were all ugly. They taught her that beauty was not everything. After a while, she realized that the ostriches' wisdom was not enough. She moved to another city and found some green herons.
The green herons are one of the few birds that can use tools. They are highly intelligent. They taught her many things and she was educated. She moved away and came to a city of songbirds. She learned to sing beautiful songs. Songs that brought joy, songs that soothed pain, songs that told stories. She became very skilled at making music. Then she moved again, always looking for something new. She came to a city of swans. This was where she fit in. She realized that she was a swan, but because she had spent so much time among other birds, she was able to share with the swans and teach them about the world.
I am that swan. I feel that I have remade myself over and over again, in the process of trying to find myself. I may even be a phoenix. The beautiful thing is that even though I have been through many painful years where everything didn't make sense, I learned from my experiences, and now I am able to teach others about the world.
Flourishing to me means that I enjoy my life. Every moment is exciting and fun. I am able to look beyond my physical pain and ailments to see what really matters in life. I am aware of the beauty around me. I enjoy the scents of the world. I hear the beautiful songs of the trees. I taste the delicious fruit of the earth. I can feel the earth beneath me.
Knowing myself is a key to my flourishing. Understanding my strengths helps me to use them to solve the problems in my life. Appreciating my talents helps me to develop them. Listening to myself helps me to understand my own stories.
I am thankful to the universe for bringing me to this point where I can flourish and enjoy the world, enjoy life, enjoy everyone I meet. There is so much beauty and love in the world. Find your own beauty. Find yourself and you will learn to flourish.
Alli Vainshtein is a flexibly stubborn intellectual dreamer, aspiring to be a midwife of creativity.