Yesterday turned out to be one of those days where I lived out every stereotype of small town living in the northeast. I picked wildflowers while on a walk, I visited a pond with a bunch of wooden pallets serving as a dock (which results in a spooked cat jumping into the water, then attempted to run in a perfect semi circle with a look on his face that can only be described as, "BAD DECISION BAD DECISION BAD DECISION."), I tended to my chicken and collected a good number of eggs (four eggs for three chickens in the span of 24 hours). I also noticed that the garden filled with plants that the former owners said were strawberry plants but really looked more like poison ivy turned out to actually be strawberry plants. This resulted in me picking strawberries and pulling out weeds for an hour.
One of my favorite memories of my childhood isn't even a memory at all, but a smell. The smell of the forest in the heat of summer. The smell of humidity and leaves and pond scum and dirt. There's something so incredibly comforting in it, something that brings me back to a unbelievably innocent time. And now I experience it every time I step out of my house.
If you had asked 2010 Me what I would be doing in 2014, I would've told you this:
"I'm going to be a bad-ass Pre-K teacher, probably with my M.Ed or going for it. I'll be living in Boston and relishing in the city living."
If you had told her that she'd be living in a house just outside of Manchester, NH, right on the border between civilization and the absolute boondocks, where she'd relish in nature trails, fruit and vegetable gardens, and scenic views as she drives to work -- if you had told her that the teacher would she romanticized is an absolute nightmare and she'd quit the entire field before she could even pinpoint which schools she'd want to apply to -- she wouldn't believe you.
Oh -- and if you told her that she'd not only get into martial arts, but be proficient enough to teach it to others, she'd call you an outright liar. If you told her that she'd get so stupidly good at yoga that she'd go on to become a 200-hour RYT and market her class ideas to studios, she'd -- again -- call you a liar. She'd point out that she's nothing more than an awkward oaf who quit her kung fu classes the second she injured her knee.
Life really never happens the way you expected it to happen. There are some things in my life that turned out differently than what I expected and I'm not so thrilled about it (I always assumed I would have a bestselling novel by the time I was 28). And there are some things in my life that turned out differently than what I expected and I'm incredibly grateful for it (after an especially heinous pseudo-relationship my freshman year of college, I "realized" that my dating life would be nothing more than a string of douchebags -- oh, and there was no way I was ever getting married. I had seen enough negative examples of marriage to know I want nothing to do with that!!). And there are some things that turned out differently, and proved to be exactly where I needed to be.
Maybe I'm waxing philosophical over something as simple as strawberry picking because I'm in the process of ordering the various items I need to run my own yoga class (including an actual professional mat -- no more $15 cheapos from Marshall's -- and these adorable chimes called tingshas. My own instructor ends savasana by gently knocking the two tingshas together and it's like being woken up from a nap by the smell of freshly-brewed coffee). Never in a million years would I think this is where I'd be just two months before my 28th birthday, and there's really no where else I'd rather be.
This morning, I went out to do a little more weeding in this strawberry garden (since we didn't really believe the original owners, we let the weeds overrun the garden this year). After I write this, I'll be letting the chickens out so they can stretch their legs (and eat the bugs in my backyard). Then I'm going to a two-hour yoga class to learn the ins and outs of arm balances (which I have gotten frighteningly good at). This isn't the Pre-K classroom or the classroom at UNH to get my M.Ed, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.