Swooshing Down the Other Side

I love quotes.  I love them because they are written by writers and thinkers and doers and planners.  I am all of the latter, except one. 

I'm not much of a doer.

I write, I think, I plan, and I dream in my head. But when it comes to doing, I hem and haw and make excuses and allow my inner critics to stall my progress.

The reason I don't go to Boot Camp at the gym?  It seems too hard. I'd have to stop, and I'd look like a wimp.

The reason I don't ask a new mom friend for a play date?  She and her kid probably have all of their own friends anyway.  Why would they want more?

The reason I don't really focus on my writing and submit more articles for publication?  I've already had a few rejected and besides, I could never make a living off of my writing anyway.  It's not that good.

And on and on.

While some would call this being negative,  I call it being cautious.  If I don't try, I won't be embarrassed.  If I don't ask, I won't get hurt.  If I don't submit, I won't be rejected. 

Basically, if I don't do anything, nothing will happen.

And as I've learned in 40-some years, that's not a way to live one's life.

I have lived my life in fear that something bad will happen to me.  But, in looking back, nothing ever did.

Though, nothing really great ever happened either.

I'm not talking about people.  Obviously, I love Hubby and my sons and my family and friends, who are all truly wonderful. 

I'm talking about goals, because I do have them.  Not just New Year's Resolutions, but real, tangible goals.

Today's lesson in my writing class was called "The Ultimate Motivation Exercise."  We were supposed to write the titles of the chapters of our lives, even the ones we've not yet lived, keeping in mind how we want the stories of our lives to be fulfilled.  Then we were to write a far-fetched, but desirable goal and our list of steps to obtain it.

This left me stumped, and truthfully, I'm still stumped.   My life before marriage was pretty boring, and even since, I'm just here, doing the mom job. 

And as far as the add-on, I find all of my goals in life to be, well, near-fetched; that is to say, quite obtainable.  But obviously, I just need to try.

And then, I reread a quote, that, ironically, I posted to my Facebook wall today:

"Most of us try to avoid hills, but what's so good about that? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat chests, flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They're opportunities to prove to yourself that you're stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you'll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side." (adapted from a quote in this month's Self Magazine)

I've never really thought about it before, but life does happen on the hills.  And I have spent mine avoiding those hills...for the reasons I mentioned above and so many more.  Hills are hard.  Who wants to run, bike, climb or live on a hill anyway?

A lot of people.

Working out on a hill provides the best resistance.

Living on a hill provides the most breathtaking views.

And ascending the hills of life provides the best lessons a person will ever learn.  Obviously, I never chose the infertility and cancer hills.  They came to me.  But they gave me perspective, empathy, and a deep respect for people and relationships. And they certainly proved to me that I was stronger than I ever thought I could be.

And I made it to the other side all right.

There was a very steep hill in my neighborhood growing up that was a bitch to ascend whether on foot or on bike, but at the top of that hill was my best friend.  So I ascended it almost every day because I knew at the top would be side-splitting laughter. And riding my bike back down was a thrill.  It was worth the climb, and the swoosh was always fun.

I want that swoosh again.  I want to know what it feels like to have the wind in my hair, to have excitement in life, to tell the inner critics to "F--off."  To have somebody say, "We would love to pay you for your story."

But I can't know that feeling unless I try.  Climbing up the hills will be a bitch, and I might not always make it, but when I do, I will love swooshing down the other side.  I can't wait for the ascent!

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