Stop to smell the roses. This is a phrase that has been on repeat in my head for the better part of this year. I’m not sure why it suddenly decided to become my constant companion, it’s one of those phrases that everybody knows and doesn’t really give a second thought. That used to be me. The phrase had never held much meaning for me, but I think that now, I truly understand what it means. I have gone through hard times during, well, my entire life. I would never say that I am not totally lucky and blessed to be able to live a free life with access to food, clean water, a roof over my head, and people who I know love me, because I am. I am lucky. However, I would also never say that I’ve had an easy life, or an average one.
When it seems as if one bad thing is happening after the other, and you struggle to get a chance to poke your head out of the water long enough to catch a breath, it can be difficult to remember that there are amazing things happening all around you. Stop to smell the roses. Every morning, you have a plan. Get up, get ready, go to work, school, or whatever you’re going. After that, you come home, do your homework, clean, perhaps, have dinner, maybe read a book or watch some TV, then go to bed. The world passes you by in a blur, and before you know it, a year has passed. What happened during that year? No one can really say, thanks to autopilot having been switched on.
Having had this phrase pop into my head unexpectedly, I have tried to do just what it says. I stop to help a stranger find their way instead of making up excuses that I’m in a hurry. My boss won’t mind if I come at 8 exactly instead of two minutes earlier. I open my eyes whenever I go places to watch the people around me. You’d be surprised at what I see: A father daughter date, friends laughing, couples fighting, a little kid holding a roly poly and looking at it with saucers for eyes.
Recently, I went to London for six weeks for an internship abroad. My boss there was one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and I plan on using her as a template for a lot of things in my life. Working with a lot of very demanding (and often very rude) people, the day for her gets extremely stressful, very fast, so she would often take a break to go on a walk to clear her head of the negativity before continuing. Going on a walk with her along the river Thames, I watched her literally stop to smell the blossoms on one of the trees growing there. It seems like such a simple act, but it says so much, and it touched me. Stop to smell the roses. It means to take in the beauty of the world, even if everything else seems impossible. If you remember to do one thing today, stop to smell the roses.