I’ve been participating in a discussion on Quora that made me realize how prone to coasting I am. And have been, my whole life. It doesn’t seem like it on a superficial level, but that’s because things like school come easily for me. But trust me, I’ve shied away from the scary challenges.
Since my 30s, I’ve reclaimed some of those challenges. I used to avoid doing things I didn’t have a natural aptitude for, because I was afraid to fail. But I’ve since learned that half the fun in doing anything is trying, failing, then finally getting it right. So I’ve given things like yoga another go. Am playing around with things like sculpting clay and drawing. Have planned and executed things like small woodworking projects. Things that stretch my abilities.
There is a predictable pattern in these exercises. A moment of inspiration. Action. Fear that I’ve gotten in over my head. Certainty that I’ve gotten in over my head. The moment of connection, when I finally begin to see how the thing is done. Finally, increasing levels of success. I love it – the whole cycle. It makes me feel alive. Keeps me interested and engaged in the world.
But I am still shirking the big challenges. Like social interaction. I’m not good at it, have never been good at it. But now I am exceedingly rusty. And I’m finding that there are, in fact, ill effects in being so rusty. My non-familial support network is entirely on the internet, for instance. I have no idea what to do with Anya and her intense longing for friends. I’m sure she and I would enjoy the heck out of play dates with my mom friend in New York, but…you know, states. And Anya’s going to start school next year, which means I’ll have to deal with a whole new group of people.
It could be fun. It could be awful. Most of that depends on what I make of it, I know. But first I have to try.
I haven’t decided how yet, but I will try. The first step in doing a thing is deciding to do it, right?