The other day, I posted a poem called "The Path of Least Resistance." It was a poem written years ago, but one that I've always particularly liked; not necessarily for the poetic skill with which it's written, but for its theme or message. It's about taking the safe path, the tried and trusty trail, the easy-going hike through life. It's about the fact that life choices can be exciting and interesting, even though things might get difficult now and then. It's about the fact that there are pros and cons to both ways of approaching life.
I've always been a Least Resistance kind of girl. I get discouraged easily, I worry that things I attempt won't be perfect, and God knows I think and over think until every possible ramification has my stomach in knots and something as easy as a menu choice feels like an earth-shattering decision. If there's a possibility of failure, I just do nothing, because choosing to fail is easier than not being great at something. Behind every great procrastinator is a huge worrywart thinking about falling flat on her face in front of a crowd. That's this girl, right here.
So, here's what I do: I order the same thing from a menu consistently, because that way, I won't be disappointed. I keep my circle of friends tight and small. I will analyze a conversation and word choice to death to see if there's something I missed or if I really understood what the person was trying to say. I buy falling down houses to keep from losing them. I write five or six paragraphs every time I write something. I avoid doing things that I'm not good at, and I avoid places and people that make me uncomfortable. Sometimes, this is to the point of pissing off said small circle of friends who get irritated that I don't want to attend a book club with people I don't know, or that I ask who's going to be there before I'll commit. I can't help it.
So, it's a huge deal for me to want to put myself out there. Uncertainty makes me crazy--if I'm unsure of my footing, I wig, and end up creating a bigger issue than need be, or putting my foot in my mouth and saying something I can't take back, no matter how much I wish I could. I can handle almost anything life throws at me, and have...so I'm not sure why I flip out on roads I've never been on, especially when I'm not the one driving.
I admire people who are just the opposite. People who seem comfortable in any setting, who can talk to strangers with ease and charm, and who put themselves out into many different kinds of social situations. People who can be nonchalant in almost any situation...not just SEEM to be, but actually BE nonchalant. People who bounce back quickly from setbacks and handle most situations with aplomb...basically, people for whom the ups-and-downs don't exist, even though they never seem to be taking the easy way out, or the path of least resistance. I admire them...and they frustrate me, all at the same time, because I just don't see how it's that stupid easy to just roll through life. I wish I did.
I've been trying to expand my horizons a little bit...to take advantage of some opportunities that might be coming my way. Writing is one of those things--and every little bit I do makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something, even if it's just self-analysis in front of the world on my little blog. But that's the easy one, here in front of this screen. Some of the other "paths" are a little more stressful, a little more threatening, a little more frightening. I'm coming to the point, though, where I don't want to avoid them because they're scary, and where I want to see what could happen if some chances are taken. I'm not expecting to experience anything spectacular, and I know that I will probably fall...I may very well get hurt. But if I do, (and I have no doubt that I will), I want to believe that the world won't end, that I'll dust myself off and keep trucking, and that I'll come out a stronger person on the other end. I want to think that. Wish me luck.