Thursday, April 07, 2011

Stalagmighty ...

It happens slowly. But it builds. On itself. Like a stalagmite in a cave. Drip, drip, drip. Each drip is just a drip, but a series of drips? Over time? The stalagmite takes shape.

I sat down to write a funny post, a post about tapping into my inner curmudgeon, about coming to know my future crotchety-old-lady self a few decades early. But no.

No, I think this is a real post after all, a post about authenticity, about staking a claim and being real. About ending the bullshit – if you'll pardon my French – and finally – finally, finally, FINALLY- assigning an answer to "When?"

Now. That's when. Now. Today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not when I've read another book or lost another pound. Now.

The nows are building on themselves, the nows are gaining in frequency. I am not in my now place every moment of every day. Energy ebbs and flows. But I have taken some big steps in the past few months, I have done things I never thought I would do. Because I am extremely adept at justifying a lot, a lot and for a long time, but as a friend once pointed out, even if I wasn't actively changing things, things were changing.

Well, then. May as well take the reins.

The beauty of getting older is that you care so much less about what others think.

And there's no knowing that beforehand. Oh, people can tell you how it is, but the folly of youth precludes you from understanding because you're not yet there. But your day will come, kids. And then you'll know.

(It's like how my parents used to tell me that time moves faster, the older you get. I thought it was a crock, just something parents say. Time is time, I told myself. Time is a constant. Yeah? So where has the past decade gone? Hell if I know.)

So, here I am, caring much less about what others think. I'm not trying to be cruel. I'm not trying to be hurtful. But I have very little interest these days in the big wide world of co-dependent bullshit. I like to think that I'm a good friend, that I can be counted on when the chips are down. I'm sure others would point to instances in which I should have done more. And I apologize to them for my failings.

But it's one thing to lean on someone when you need a bit of support and another thing entirely to expect me to be an enabler.

And the thing is, I've enabled a lot. I have. And others have enabled a lot in me. Lives are very intertwined. So perhaps it seems unfair for me to announce that I'm no longer playing, to stop the game and walk off the field and go home.

I would have given some fair warning if I would have known. But life isn't always that pretty. Sometimes, a single statement strikes a chord and the song is never the same.

Then again, why should it be?

There's comfort in familiarity. But there's also stagnation. And frankly, decay.

Yes, challenge is scary. That's why so many people avoid it.

But the alternative? A life spent jogging in place? What's the point?

Do you honestly believe that you were put on this earth to go through the motions? To tread water? To bide your time until you die?

Of course, I'm writing this post about myself, my ongoing process of thinking things through. But I know it applies to others, too.

Change is scary, but that sense of knowing that I should be doing so much more but I'm not is worse. Far worse. Far, far worse. It is heartbreaking to be disappointed in myself. I know.

Which is why I'm not tolerating it in others. It is as much about me as it is about them.

It is impossible to effectively insulate oneself from all sources of pain when one of the sources is yourself. So stop trying.

That's what I've come to understand.

Not everyone will like me. Not everyone will like my work. So I am no longer answering to them. I am no longer contorting my life in a vain attempt to meet with their approval. It will not come. It will never come. And why, why, why have I been playing to the smaller crowd? Why have I conducted so much of my life so conscious of the few instead of allowing myself to be embraced by the many?

Thankfully, no lesson is ever learned too late.

And so the lessons present themselves, some little, some big. And they accumulate. And they add up to today, to where I am now, on this path of my life, the next step of which I cannot see.

Until I take it.


Anonymous Dave said...

Beth - I posted a song lyric quite recently that was my take on this same subject. It's called The Road To Never Mind. It's just below my latest post on the childish behavior of John Boehner!

12:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Erdman said...

Uh Oh!

9:50 AM  

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