EArly blossom

As the bus drives past the silvery leafed birch trees along the way to Groningen, I see that some trees have yet to unfold their leaves. Bare, as if it were still winter. 
They are taking their time, whilst bluebells, prunus and magnolias are showing off their bright colours. Birds are nesting and cats are yelling at each other at every corner of the street, using often really silly high tunes that don’t sound intimidating at all. 

Some people may think those trees are slow, apparently missing the boat. But who knows what interior processes are taking place and what beautiful display we shall eventually get. 

I was always convinced that I was meant to do great things. In primary school I soon discovered that I was quick at learning and I had a thirst to prove myself. 
Once, coming home with yet another A, my dad said: ‘Good job, Anna Maria, you always have to be the best.’ 
Of course he didn’t mean that. He was just expressing how proud he was.
Still, the words he spoke that day really summon up how I have felt for most of my life: it was my duty to be the best, it was expected of me. 

After high school I found myself in a lonely place. I had always been proud and competitive, often prickly. However, what I really wanted was finding a soulmate with whom I could share feelings and passions. 
Hoping to find them in art school or university I enrolled in both and in the week ends I worked in a busy restaurant. Though I invested more time in social interactions than I did in my teens, most of the time I was studying, committed to keep up the high standard I had set myself long ago. 
Needless to say I was complete ly stressed out after a while. The health issues I had suffered from for a while became worse. I stopped studying, stopped working… but I painted. 

Thankfully I found the soulmate I always hoped for and he is now my husband now. Living together I learnt to be (a bit) easier on myself and I discovered that the things that really make me happy are not at all so ambitious. A good grade or a sold painting are thrills that pass, but the memories that keep are a good dinner with friends, a relaxing day at the beach or in the woods with the children, the satisfaction of baking a good loaf of bread that everybody enjoys, making a beautiful garden and learning new painting skills. 

Succes is not about getting recognition from others. It is being happy and to see that your loved ones are. Even though the blossom is not there to see for the outside world, it is there, inside. 

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