I’m an adult now, but never felt more like a child.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve done the Right – with a capital R — thing, as defined by my parents, my friends, the people I looked up to. I’ve kept my head down, didn’t make any waves, placed the wants and needs of others before that of my own. I worked myself into misery, all the while looking at those close to me with doe eyes, silently pleading for recognition, for “I’m proud of you,” and “I love you.”
Then something happened, because something always happens, regardless if we want it to or not.
Now I’m edging my way into the vast, dark room of unknowns that is life, my hand desperately scrabbling at the wall for a light switch and finding none.
A tiny, rational part of my head says, “This is normal. You’re young. You’re not supposed to have it figured out. This is life. You take what you know of your past and you learn from your mistakes and you grow up.”
The much larger, not-very-rational part of my head is having a panic attack.
After a lifetime of basing my actions on what pleased others, I am unnerved and confused when I find myself trying to decide what I want to do. What makes me happy? What do I want? How do I feel about this? These are questions I’m not used to asking, and ones I have to search to find the answers to. I need to do what makes me proud, what makes me happy with being who I am; gods only know I can’t be anybody else. While my actions may affect others, I am the one who has to live with my decisions, for better or worse.
Mark Twain, a man I would gladly have lunch with, once said, “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
A very good friend of mine said, “There is no Right to reach, and that is the best news I’ve heard in a long time.”
I want to identify with these people. I want to eagerly throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. I want to recognize that there is no Right except what is defined by me and me alone. Except that terrifies me. With white knuckles I’ve grasped the nearest safety support, not trusting myself to go ahead on my own.
I am not a religious person, but last night I found myself praying to the stars. They remained aloof and distant, but I felt something – a god, the Universe, Fate, what have you – speaking to me, saying, “Let go.”
No elaboration, no explanation.
Just let go.
I haven’t decided if I’m ready to come back to blogging yet, but I felt the need to share this. Hopefully I’ll be posting a little bit more here and there.