A couple days ago my phone went off alerting me that I had a text. It was a worried friend awaiting results, though thankfully not the medical kind. She had worked for a long time, putting her blood, sweat, and tears into achieving something and now it was all in the hands of others, totally out of her control. I sympathized with the feeling of limbo, wondering if things will go your way or if you’ll be disappointed. I also offered my cheerful and affirming thoughts, which were easy to pass along because I just knew things were going to turn out okay. The following day my phone went off again and I checked the message. Oh dear… things had not turned out as planned or as hoped for. The results were that she had come just shy of the goal, which is often more devastating than missing something by miles. She seemed very down and I understood. I’ve been there in similar situations. I’ve felt knocked down, unworthy, and well, just plain lousy. I was, however, able to offer up some more cheerful and affirming thoughts. And, again, they were easy to pass along because I still think things will turn out okay for her – they just won’t be what she had originally planned. That may be the greatest thing of all. In that moment, putting myself in her shoes, I began to think that maybe this is her turning point, the beginning of something entirely new and exciting. Maybe this is the day she says, “I’m going to shoot for something that I really want, that lights my fire and makes an impact.” She has all of that within her. She has a desire to do great things and change the lives of the generation coming after her, a generation she sees as inspirational and grand. So, this setback, this upset, may be the springboard for her to dive in and find out what’s waiting for her out in the deep end, where dreams and creativity and passion reside.
What is a little odd is that I am in a funk right now, floundering around and unsure of what I’m doing. I seem to be able to look at my friend’s situation, and at the circumstances others are facing, and be that voice of positivity, the cheerleader jumping up and down and encouraging people to go for it and give it their best shot. I can see the upside to many downsides that people around me are encountering. And then, after the cheering is done and the high of positivity has waned, I sigh and drag myself into my room, where I curl up in a ball and have a pity party for myself. Oh, Jacque, what is the matter?
In a word, here is what’s the matter: fear. I’ve been taken care of my whole life. I’ve never depended on myself for anything. There’s always been someone to watch out for me, handle my problems, defend me, and catch me when I fall. I know in my head that things will turn out okay. I know because people tell me all the time, that this will all be okay and I’ll be better than fine. My head knows that I am stronger than what I have been put through. My head knows that I have creativity and talent and persistence (though I question at times if I have enough of these things). I have a deliciously scary dream to pursue that I hope will help others and a book that is actually coming together. I have plans I want to come to fruition that seem far away, but at least attainable. My head knows a lot, but it has trouble convincing my heart. My heart taps on my head and says, “But what if things don’t turn out okay?” Silly little heart, be quiet and patient and just wait!
It’s kind of funny how sometimes the things we tell others, the potential we see in the people around us, is not so easily seen within ourselves. I need to listen to my own advice, to look at the lemons I have and start making some thirst-quenching, best-ever lemonade. I need to let myself feel everything, but at the same time I need to believe what my head knows to be true. I don’t know if my friend will take this chance and leap into something entirely different. She probably has fear too. But I hope she will. I hope she will see in her heart that she has a great offering and there is no perfect time, there is just this time. And as I wish this for her, I wish this for you and me as well. I hope we can get a little brave and muster up the courage to make that career change, write that business proposal, run that race, get through that grieving, mend that relationship, or whatever it is… to leap off that springboard into the deep end.
The Deep End = Joy