Lately, I’ve really been struggling with a topic that I wanted to write about. This is probably the fifth time I’ve sat down and started banging out a piece.
How to talk about missed opportunities and taking chances? Meeting people and climbing out of our shells to do something we have no business doing. Thinking of all these angles to look at it – the marketing standpoint; that we’re all selling something and our reputation is our “brand” so we have to watch what we say and to whom and strike the right balance of knowing the situation we’re in and what’s appropriate to that given situation – at least, in the context of what it is we want to accomplish or whether we even care. (“Not caring” is still a kind of advertising message). For that matter, living ‘authentically’ and being ‘in the moment’ is, in a disgustingly cynical sense, still a chosen modus operendi.
Think about the serendipity of how a seemingly inauspacious encounter might turn someone’s life around in a good way, or completely destroy one’s future.
When driving around, it’s easy to miss all of these side streets and alley-ways. We’re going at a good clip and they just slip by. But these are all crossroads and choices that lead to places we haven’t been before, people we haven’t met before or taken the time to engage. We’re so accustomed and focused on where we’re going, we just don’t consider the possibilities of where life might lead us next if we were to recognize the cascading effect of a timely turn of the wheel, an introduction and smile or word of encouragement to a complete stranger.
Sometimes those turns, insignificant as they seem at first, become major headings in our lives – we trace everything back to meeting a person, moving across town, quitting a job, trying out a new hobby, taking a trip, taking a class, saying “hello”, or any number of things, or people, or turns that we had not previously taken – and now look at where they have led.
And while it is habit that keeps us running along in our familiar routines, it is also the comfort that comes along with it and the fear of losing it if we do something we don’t know. Fear of being new at it and looking like we’re new at it. Fear that noone is going to like you or that you won’t belong. So I avoid. I buffer with delicious food, games and distractions, religious fervor, political rage – I fill my life with useless things that consume my time and displace that immortal asset with the empty promise of tomorrows, regretful todays, and wasted yesterdays.
It is escapism. I escape. Then I escape again from the shame of escapism. The crossroads slip by and I am aware, but they are new and terrifying and my normalcy is killing me slowly and comfortably.
Sometimes, it’s that nagging “Who do you think you are!” voice inside of our heads that makes us shy away from the blaze of that campfire confession, that stage light, or the plain realization that you will either act in life at a given point and in a given situation – or you will not.
So, I turn and discover how wonderful it is to be alive and to know you all. To be human with you all and being in this thing together. To offer what help I can give and to meet those wonderful people who help me out with their hearts full of love.
For me, that little turn was downloading a fitness app. Little did I know it would lead me here and lead me to you all – “And that has made all the difference”.