I’ve always been drawn to the dandelion. Whether it was twisting the yellow blossoms against my chin as a kid (to see if I liked butter), picking a fluffy white bulb and making countless wishes, or just in image of a single seed drifting in the wind, the dandelion has held a special place for me.
I didn’t think much about this until recently as I was reexamining my current life path and realizing that it didn't quite align for all of those plans I’d made years before. Some things were spot on - caring husband, awesome kids, beautiful house in the Colorado foothills, and of course the token dog. To the outsider, my life looks pretty good. The problem is that I’m not enjoying it very much.
Right before COVID hit, I actually made one of these wishes. I wished that my plate would be cleared of all the activities I’d accumulated but absolutes despised doing. I wanted a clean slate to grow and rebuild from, and well, that wish came true.
The PTA Board, the massage business, the teaching, the fact that my kids’ education wasn’t looking like I wanted to. It all went away when everything shut down, and since March I’ve been sitting back and trying to figure out my life. Now was the time for me to focus on me, and it was beyond time to do so. And that’s what I did.
All of my wishes came back to one thing - I wanted to play again. I know that sounds childish, but hear me out. I’ve spent the past eight years trying to fit my square peg self into a round hole. About a year before I left my job as a high school teacher and athletic trainer, my job stopped being fun and every new business I’ve tried to start for myself has lacked that element as well. I watch my kids start school and be taught to the test instead of being encouraged to explore their natural curiosities and learning from there. We’re losing our fun as a society and I just can’t handle it anymore. I’ve fallen into a life of depression and anxiety, and it’s mostly due to my trying to fit in with how I’m expected to behave, and I’m done.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to start a revolution (something my son always threatens when he’s upset with us), but rather I’m going to tap back into what brings me joy and will return play to my life. For me, that means working in ways that make me happy. Teaching and coaching, and maybe a little nutrition and movement thrown in there. Also living my life as I’ve always dreamed - getting outside and exploring and connecting with nature. Finally, I want my kids to be raised with play, and so we’re giving homeschool a try because I feel like many of the techniques that I used when teaching alternative learners are a great foundation to inspire learning through connection and curiosity in all learners. I’m excited about the journey!
It’s impossible to make a change without moving.There is a physical or mental shift that must happen in order to evoke change. Once we’ve started moving in the direction of our wishes, then our healing can happen, and that’s what I’m doing. Instead of being scared of living the life of my dreams, I am taking small steps to make my wishes a reality. The seeds I blew off the dandelion fluff have landed and are taking roots. Some may see these new wishes as invasive weeds, messing up my perfect suburban lawn, but I don’t. I see them as nourishing plants that have the power to heal. In herbal medicine, dandelion root is used for detoxing and healing. Their leaves are packed with nutrients. If we look at the symbolism of dandelions, they connect to emotional healing. It’s the perfect little symbol for me - it wraps my endless wishes, my desire for a nourishing life, and my need for healing all up in one package - which is why I chose it for the main image of this page.
So I’m off to play now, with my kids in tow. My husband can come along too if he’d like to. I’m excited to see how many of my wishes have taken root and are growing, just waiting to be found. And the best thing is that dandelion wishes are never ending. Each wish brings the opportunities for many more, and that’s what I’m counting on.