I have always thought of myself as a bit of a cynic. Believing that good things are coming my way doesn’t come naturally to me at all. And even when good things really do happen, my first thought is usually, “This won’t last.” So maybe that’s why I have a hard time recognizing what I’m feeling right now, and what I feel every year right about this time. Because according to my calendar, Spring has finally arrived. And there’s something about Spring that always makes me feel hopeful.
I don’t know if it’s longer days, or the budding trees and flowers, or waking up to the sounds of the birds chirping in my yard, or just the increasing warmth of the sun on my face. But somewhere in all of nature’s reawakening, I feel my heart opening up to new possibilities and growth. I am more willing to try new things, to tackle those “to do” projects that I’ve been avoiding all winter, and even to take a few risks that I would normally avoid. Somehow the things that used to seem comfortingly familiar now feel unbearably routine, and I find myself longing for all things new.
And so I begin my usual routine of Spring cleaning. I begin with my house, cleaning and de-cluttering like a mad woman, and even redecorating a bit until every room feels fresh and new. I go through my closet, pulling out the clothes and shoes I haven’t worn in years, even if they are still in good condition and were purchased at a bargain price. And then I go shopping in search a few new items, making a point to at least try on styles I don’t usually wear. I read books by new authors, strike up conversations with people I don’t know well, and when I go out to eat, I insist on trying a new restaurant. Accepting new challenges, big or small, actually seems attractive.
For at least a few weeks, I find it easy to maintain my optimism and my passion for new things. But as Spring turns to Summer my “spring fever” gradually wears off, and I find myself once again attracted to what is familiar and comforting in my life. And in many ways, that’s a good thing, because I don’t want to live a life of constant change, and I certainly can’t afford a life of constantly buying new things.
But each year, a little bit of that “spring fever” experience sticks with me, and my horizons are broadened that much more. Some new styles find their way into my closet; I discover a new favorite author, and sometimes I find myself with a new friend or two. Some of the new doors I opened reveal new paths that carry me forward in unexpected ways. And the best part is, I know that next year I’ll get to do it all over again. Because, as we all know, hope springs eternal.