The day came when the risk it took to stay in the bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.

Isn’t it funny how you look in a mirror one day and don’t recognize yourself? It hasn’t even been decades or years or months later. Just 3 short weeks. 21 days.

There’s no grey hairs. No wrinkles, although the dark circles under your eyes may be considerably darker from the inevitable effects of a full college schedule. No physical change that you can see, except maybe now your cheeks are pinker than they have been in a long time and your eyes have a twinkle to them that you thought you lost a long time ago.

You look happy again. You didn’t even realize that you weren’t happy until you finally saw yourself in a moment when you were.

And you are. There’s a lightness in your steps as the paths you walk everyday no longer seem as long and you check your pockets to make sure you haven’t dropped anything because there isn’t a weight on you anymore — or at least, you don’t seem to be able to feel it. Your smile is so bright that you wonder if the real reason that autumn is coming is that you are beaming sunshine stolen from summer whenever you flash a cheesy grin. And in those pictures that your friend posted of you guys? There must’ve been weird lighting in there because there’s a glow in your eyes that wasn’t there the last time and it wasn’t a result of an Instagram filter.

It doesn’t take that long to change, only a change of season really — although it feels like forever. It was so gradual that it takes you by surprise. It’s like a baby bird who dreams of flying every single day, who stares at the sky up above and wonders how long it will be until his wings will be strong enough to carry him to touch the clouds, who perches on the edge of the nest as his mama teaches him Flying Basics 101. He goes 1 foot out on the first day and gets progressively farther, all the while wishing that he could try and touch the sun. Then one day, without warning, Mama pushes him out of the nest and as he keeps flapping his wings, he realizes that he’s finally capable of doing what he wanted to do all along. He can touch the sun and he never knew it because he was so focused on the struggles of the farther distances of the daily practice.

Finally realizing that you can soar. Finally comprehending that you can touch the sun and not get burned. Finally noticing that you can do what you thought you couldn’t do before.

Maybe that’s what it’s like to be completely happy.

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