With Arms Wide Open

4 Feb

The Beekman. Photo by DMT

There’s been a lot of deep thinking going on around here, and at times I’ve wished I were someone who didn’t think so much.

This past weekend I drove to Chicago to visit J., and as we were walking around in Bucktown on Saturday, I said “I wish I were someone who didn’t think so much.  People who don’t think this much seem like they might be happier.”  Ever the pragmatist, J. responded, “Well, they say ignorance is bliss.”

I’m not sure that’s true, though.

I’ve always been a thinker, but the problem was that I haven’t always been a person who was able to utilize the information in a positive manner. As a result, I’m not sure the thinking was always a good thing.  On the upside, I can see that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more willing to examine things from other perspectives and entertain the possibility that not only is my perspective not the only one, but also that it’s not always the right one.

These days, I’m much less afraid of admitting that I’m wrong, and every time I’m able to let go of the need to be right, I feel relief.  Letting go of the old ego is a tough one, though.

Some days I’m not sure anything I do is right, and I struggle to make sense of it all.  I’m fortunate that I have so many people in my life who are willing to support my struggle, and who hold me up when I feel like I’m losing my faith.  Their love and acceptance is what helps me pull myself up when I begin to question myself.

As I sat in J.’s kitchen on Sunday morning, tears welling up because I’d been doubting myself again, I looked at her and said, “In the end, I just want to be a good person.”  To which J. replied, “And the fact that you even think about that means you already are.”

Lately, I’ve been questioning the move to New York City.  I’ve been doubting whether or not I can actually make it in a city that will require me to make a lot more money than I’m making now.  I’ve been doubting whether I’m tough enough for New York, and wondering if I really am I just too “nice” to survive there.  I’ve been questioning whether it’s a good idea to pick up and move another thousand miles away from everything and everyone I know and love just to experience life in a city that I’ve only once visited.

In short, I’ve been questioning the possibility of turning my dream into a reality.

I’ve been thinking too much, again.

Fortunately, I continue to think about all of this, and if I’ve learned anything over the past six months that I’ve been writing about this move, I’ve learned that there is no way of knowing anything for sure.  I don’t know whether I will actually be able to make the move to New York City. I don’t know if I can find a job that will support me. I don’t know if I can maintain my optimistic perspective when I’m all alone in the city.

And that scares me – almost enough to make me stop in my tracks.

Almost, but not quite.

The other thing that I’ve learned while writing about this dream is that so much of what happens in our lives happens because we believe it can happen.  And when we have faith that what we believe can happen, we are wiling to risk being wrong in order to see if we might be right.

We can [and should] plan as best we can, but, in the end, there is no way of guaranteeing that any of our plans will work out the way we intend them to.  The best we can do is set our course, and keep moving forward with the knowledge that we’ve done our best to take into consideration as many factors as possible.  We can remain open to the experiences and we can remind ourselves that even the worst situations can produce some of the best lessons in life, but we have to remind ourselves that we are not in control of the outcome, and no amount of thinking will change that.

I will continue to think about [and plan for] this move because it’s the thinking that makes my life interesting and informative. It’s the thinking that helps me expand my horizons and continue pushing for distant shores.  It’s the thinking that opens myriad possibilities for the way my life might be shaped and helps me continue to spread my arms wide open as I welcome them.

It’s the thinking that gives me hope.

And as Christoper Reeve said, “Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”


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