I don’t know if it’s normal maturity or if it’s the result of having bad things happen to me, but I feel like I’ve stopped saying yes to new and exciting things. I think of the dangers, I think of the people who might be disappointed in me, or inconvenienced, or even childhood friends and teachers I haven’t spoken to in decades who might not approve.
And I say no.
It makes me safer, but I’m not as happy as I was even 5 years ago. I feel like I made the decision to keep myself safe, “be a responsible adult” and focus on home and hearth. Maybe not even doing those things very well.
So many of my goals: go to africa, sleep outside, change my career… all of those things require a certain amount of faith, courage and jumping into the abyss. I used to jump into the abyss as a matter of course – not following random impulsivity (though sometimes I confess I did that, too) but thinking about something scary and stepping off the cliff with hope and excitement and faith. Sometimes that went very wrong for me (most notably 5 years ago, hence my newfound hesitation) but MOST of the time – the vast majority of the time – it led me into amazing places doing things I’d never dreamed I could do.
Now I’m standing on the edge of the abyss once again – specifically about my trip to Africa – and I’m moving forward in fits and starts. It’s coming down to the wire for me and I have to officially commit all my money next week, or pull out completely. I can’t think of what I would feel about myself if I pulled out. I’m standing there on the cliff edge and hesitating, hesitating some more, hesitating myself into a frozen statue.
I need to start saying yes more. Get back in the habit of welcoming opportunities, being brave and sometimes foolish, because I know that comes with the territory. Part of faith is believing that even if you fail, things will still be okay. So failure is still an option, but one you’ve accepted and made peace with.
Sometimes I wish someone or something outside me would come along and push me off the cliff, but I know it will mean more if I take the leap myself, motivated by my own faith and desire to reclaim some happiness.