When Things Don’t Go As Planned

For the past eight months it’s like I’ve been stuck in a revolving door. My hands leaving smudges as I push them flat on the glass, putting my weight into heaving the door forward on its incessant circular track. Each step is difficult, lifting my legs one at a time as gravity fights to keep them in place. It takes so much energy but I won’t give up, and as I get closer to the exit I feel excited and nervous, finding new strength to push myself a little faster and harder towards something more, something better.

The door begins to crack over the opening and I can smell the fresh air, but then suddenly the door sticks. So I sit there, excited at first to see what’s on the other side but the feeling fades as I think about what could happen. I second-guess and contemplate the decision to exit until I’ve rationalized staying to a fault, knowing that leaving the circular track I’m on and the comfort of this confined space will make me vulnerable. I put my weight into the door as I grapple with these conflicting emotions and suddenly it unsticks, giving way and slowly moving forward. And then I push forward, past the exit and the fresh air and the “what if’s” only to continue going around and around again, feeling disappointed but telling myself “next time” as I begin trudging towards the exit all over again, slowly and strategically.

Each opportunity to exit comes with a hope for something new, something different and exciting. It removes the barriers that keep me confined to my comforts with a vision of a better life, and a longing desire for this vision to become a reality. It’s not fear of the unknown that keeps me going in circles, no, but instead everything that I’ve been taught about stability. Why would I walk away from a good, stable environment? What if what I leave behind is actually much better than what I’m walking into? What if I fail?

I don’t notice this happening of course, that is until recently when I was shoved through the door before I could push my way past, with nothing to catch me on the other side, no plan in mind to bring me comfort. So now I sit cross-legged on the grass of the unknown, staring at the many roads in front of me and contemplating which direction I should go, which path forward I should take.

There are two major things that I have learned from this experience. First and foremost, I will never again let the fear of instability keep me from pushing forward. Whether I choose it or not, eventually I will end up exiting the door, and I would rather it be on my own accord than feeling regret for having walked in circles for so long.

Second, for the first time in a very, very long time I’m left to sit and contemplate. I’ve had time to focus on the things I enjoy and hone in on my passions, and it’s begun to change the roads that sit before me. Roads I would not have had the time or ability to slow down and see, had I not been pushed through the door.

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