I have a touch of anxiety about the mazes that pop up in every other cornfield this time of year. In California, Scott and I visited one — billed as the world’s largest — and if it weren’t for some dumb luck a few hours (yes, hours) in, I am fairly sure we’d still be inside, wandering aimlessly, chewing on corn husks to stay alive.
In short, I learned that corn mazes are fun. When they end.
But a sunflower maze?! I could be stuck in one of those for years and be just fine.
It’s no shock to anyone who knows us that the last few months have been a wee bit stressful. It’s been hard to find downtime. But when I learned about a sunflower maze at a local farm, I knew I wanted to carve out some time to visit. Then the day came, and I was tired and cranky and not really in the mood to do anything other than stay home and read a book. But I knew I’d regret missing the sunflower maze, and in the end, I convinced myself to go under the pretense that it was a good “40 Before 40” trip.
Let me pause for a moment for some unsolicited editorial commentary: As I’ve gone on this journey, I’ve realized that forcing myself to seize a moment is one of the best, most magical parts of the “40 Before 40” project. So often, life and responsibility stand in the way of my ability to do something for myself. But knowing I have a deadline for a project that’s all about myself motivates me in a way I never could have imagined when I started.
So, so many people (I mean dozens of you, ranging in ages from 25 to 70) have told me that my project has inspired them to think about doing one of their own — to find a bunch of new things they have never tried and start trying them. To all of those people, I challenge you to stop thinking and just commit — whether it’s “50 Before 50” or “7 before 70” or “17 Before 2017.” Pick any goal you want and start working towards it. I promise you – there are no downsides. Even if you try something new and never want to do it again (I refer you to this one), you probably* won’t regret it.
(I say “probably” because I admit, if you broke a bone or publicly humiliated yourself, you might regret it — though there are ways to manage that possibility. For example, begin by trying a new flavor of ice cream or learning to knit — not everything I have done has been as dramatic as a 45-foot plunge into an airbag.)
OK, back to the sunflowers.
There is no way to be sad around sunflowers. I dare you. They are bright and cheerful and bold and strong and everything that is positivity and happiness.
The maze was much less of a traditional maze with a start and an end. It was more like a grass path that meandered through a field of flowers. Whatever. It worked for me.
The sky was an amazing blue — a perfect late September afternoon. A few wispy clouds floated by, but otherwise, it was tranquil and stunning.
This time of year also coincides with the annual migration of the monarch butterflies. Butterflies plus sunflowers? COME ON.
All in all, I’m glad I worked up the energy to make this afternoon a reality. After wandering through the maze, I found a sunny spot and put down my camera. I sat. I took it all in.