The wife and I were eating dinner on Sunday (I’ve been trying to institute a Sunday dinner so that we cook and eat at least one meal a week) and we got to talking about the move back to Michigan that will occur sometime in our future. In the spirit of full disclosure, it’s primarily me that is unhappy here in Chicago. She likes most aspects of life here, but also realizes that it’s not the thing she wants long term (I hope I’m getting that right. Feel free to correct me honey.) Knowing all of that, it’s easy to see how the two sides of the coin of moving to Michigan could be exaggerated based on your perspective. We’re both scared of the same things and excited about the same things, but since I’m unhappy, I focus on the things I’m excited about and try to ignore the fears where she is focused on the fears of the things that could go wrong while not allowing herself to be excited. Neither side is right.
I quite dramatically equated my feelings to being on a cliff while someone is pointing a gun at you. I look over the edge of the cliff and I see the ocean below and my mentality is “Ok, if I don’t jump, this guy will shoot me and I’ll die. If I do jump, I still might die, but there’s a chance that I’ll live.” I’m not normally a risk taker either. Getting married was probably the biggest gamble I’ve ever taken and that’s not to say I wasn’t sure about marrying my wife, but more just that marriage is a crap shoot no matter who the person is.
I was about to start mixing metaphors and talking about the situation in the form of gambling but let’s stay on the cliff. I think there’s something exciting in fear of the unknown, but I think it depends on the possible outcomes. Usually, I don’t like not knowing. I hate surprises. But as long as I know the outcome won’t be awful, I can get myself excited about the adventure. I have lots of ideas about how I would like things to go, what would be ideal. I’m sure none of them will come true but this time, unlike so many before, it won’t be for lack of trying. That’s why I stick with the cliff metaphor. It allows me to use this quote that I came across today. Any other day, I would just put the quote out there and let you think I’m well read and intelligent, but you’re no fool. You know Ray Bradbury died today and someone on Twitter tweeted this quote and that’s how I came across it. I think it resonated really hard with me today because of the things that have been on my mind.
“You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” - Ray Bradbury
That’s the part that I read that inspired me to write this blog. Then I looked deeper and found the full quote, which is something I should apply not just to this, but to life in general. Again, I may not be successful, but for now, it won’t be for lack of trying. The full quote reads:
“If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
So I’m going to try to start doing some things that I’m afraid of. Maybe I’ll talk to a stranger. Maybe I’ll write everyday and realize that some days, the writing will just be awful. Who cares? If I don’t die, lose my wife, lose my family, or lose my friends, I’ll be just fine.