Saturday, March 02, 2013

Learning to Fly

Perhaps the most disappointing part of getting older has been discovering that, contrary to my childhood belief, adults don't actually have all their sh*t together. Even as a law abiding citizen with an education and a good job, I am still constantly learning and making mistakes and then sometimes not learning at all and making the same mistakes over and over. It often feels like the more I think I have figured out, the more I see how much there is I still don't have a handle on. In theory I think that is a good thing-it means that I am not staying in one place, that the bar is ever raising on what I expect from myself. In practice it means that my teenage dreams of knowing everything when I grew up seem more and more naive by the day.

Some days though you get flashes of real growth and get to experience some peace about an experience that was incredibly hard.

Without going into to much personal detail, there was something I wanted for pretty much my entire twenties and early thirties. Something I wished for and prayed for almost everyday. Something part of me knew probably wasn't the right thing but that I continued to pursue even if it sometimes meant ignoring my own intuition.

Slowly slowly I started to question why I was holding onto this dream and began to realize that it actually wasn't good for me. So I let go. At first it felt like I had lost a security blanket and I missed that dream. And then it became clear that my narrow focus had blocked other possibilities. Saying goodbye made space in my life for things I hadn't considered. I mourned a little bit for the years lost chasing a shadow but I felt stronger when I stopped leaning on it.

This whole thing was a couple of years ago and I use it as an example to myself when I'm frustrated about some lesson I think is too hard. I think about all the tears and anguish and frustration and heartache and disappointment that didn't seem fair at the time. And then I look at what true change it brought and I feel thankful.

So that is enough. But sometimes you get a little bonus. A bit of "a ha" information that is almost physical in it's power to confirm that you made the right choice. That what you wanted wasn't what you needed.

I'm writing this from a cozy hotel room in Germany. Earlier this week I was in China. By the time I get back to Denver on Wednesday I will have flown all the way around the world. There are things about my life that keep me up at night with worry and fear and things that absolutely take my breath away I feel so lucky. I suppose that makes me fairly normal. I hope that makes me fairly normal. But I'm grateful for the moments where the lucky outweighs the scary and I feel that much closer to being the person my mother thinks I already am.

This version of a great song cycled through my iTunes this morning and I have had it on repeat. Learning to Fly indeed.

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