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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Swimming in a fish bowl

A little over a year ago I made what I consider to be the biggest change in my life, ever.  Now since we are talking about me here, the whole endeavor was fought with "the over":  over-thought and over planned. What's more, I have to confess though that I probably was not ready emotionally for what I needed to do.  I was, in a very real sense, very much afraid.


Can you believe that? Here I am, this hunkeringly large individual, who from the outside would seem to be very much confident, and I was actually being held together by what seemed like Jello from my (all be it) twisted perspective.  The benefit of over a year has given me lots to think about and ponder on this whole topic (what I am doing now...), but I am still amazed that I actually did it.  The whole concept of what "afraid" means is worthy of pondering.  I wasn't afraid for... health (I was the only one who took care of me anyway) wealth (I don't have that much to being with) intellect (I wasn't suddenly going to go all Rick Perry)

...on the surface I'd say that I was afraid that I would end up "all alone".  Hindsight being 20/20, that was probably cover for something deeper.  What that "deeper" is, I'm not sure.  I do know that I hate losing at anything.  Maybe, just maybe, I was actually really just afraid of failing at making this kind of change. I knew that once I started doing this, my compulsion to not fail would force me to move ahead.  Would I then lose control of the situation?  Would I end up starting a course of action that I myself would somehow not be able to change?  Would I "fail"?  Note I did reference "over thinking" before.

Courageous vulnerability.

There actually is a term for what I was doing over a year ago.  That term?  Courageous vulnerability.  What this means is basically that "I am scared, but I am going to do it anyway". Regardless of what I found fearful in making a major life change, I still did it.  Over a year later and I can still almost smell the fear in the almost exists as a tactile sort of thing. Amazed, as a descriptor, doesn't begin to articulate how I feel now when I look back at that time.  I truly was afraid, but I truly did it anyway.  Now I am sure I could do it all over again, but I could also, for example, go through the process of getting a dental implant again...but I have no desire to do so.

There are other lessons in all of this, of that I am absolutely certain.  Some I've articulated in my head a hundred times over, to the point of being bald tires in my mind.  Some have made it here, some will never make it here.  Some exist as your basic vapor-ware in my head...they are there ready to be spoken, but just need to be coded in words. As someone who has poured a thought out in words over time I almost feel a need to somehow explain things, not for anyone else other than me.  That will come, in time, as I am ready.

Wish You Were Here

Over a year ago, the song "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd was playing in my head almost constantly.  Now as I mentioned to Ms Rivers just yesterday, I love things that are smartly multi-dimensional.  I find it fascinating when you see something that has a different color/meaning to it, depending on your perspective.  In 2010 I would listen to this song and think about how it somehow symbolized losing something in my life.  It's for that reason that I actually didn't listen to that song for almost a year.  I simply couldn't listen to it because of the thoughts & feelings it brought up.  However a few weeks ago I listened to the song again, and I got a wonderfully different perspective that, as I noted, comes with experiencing something "smart".  

Side note:  you can read more about this particular song HERE.

That new perspective?  Perhaps the "you" in "Wish YOU Were Here" is actually a "me".  Put another way, I think that we all engage in some kind of self-isolation.  We put ourselves in a fish bowl, year after year.  My life for the longest time was just that:  simply swimming in a fish bowl.  The benefit of being in a fish bowl, I suspect, was that I knew every inch of the space.  There is a comfort in limitation.  Over a year ago I basically jumped out of the fish bowl...not prepared...but I jumped out anyway. Courageous vulnerability.

Maybe when I am 80 and explaining all of this to grandchildren I will come across as being supremely confident and acting in accordance with a big plan.  That future statement would be a lie though, but that's okay.  There has been no big plan, other than to move forth and take some chances in life.  Some have worked out, others have not.  Some things have happened that I would have never guessed could occur in a million years.  I have not been given what I wanted, but at every step of the way I have been given what I needed.  In totality the chances and changes have been worth taking and I am truly in a great, wide-open place in life.

In the end I suspect that all of this can be summarized into one single thought:
Your life can be as small as your own personal fish bowl, or it can be big as the universe.  

You decide.  Circumstances may make change in life difficult, rarely do they make change in life impossible.

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