Sometimes I see other people weighing the pros and cons of a big change. Coming up with lists. Emotionally processing for months before they make that big decision: To do or not to do — that is the question.
I’ve noticed most of the time that they don’t. They stick with the status quo. Somewhere in their discovery process, they’ll uncover a sticking point that they just can’t quite reconcile. Something they can’t see around.
They can’t predict what will happen. And certainly not how they’ll emotionally respond to it. So they’ll reverse course.
Life is fine the way it is. Why mess with it?
What Looks Like Confidence Can Be a Blind Leap
Looking back, I seem to be a fairly sensible and careful person who very occasionally makes rather rash decisions that are hard for other people to understand. It’s not due to a lack of self-control. These rash decisions are always rather intentional:
- I’ve moved cross country twice to places where I’ve known no one or almost no one.
- I’ve largely eschewed the “playing hard to get” tactic and instead have thrown myself wholeheartedly at a new romantic and/or sexual prospect without knowing whether or not I’d be rejected.
On the outside, these sorts of behaviors can look an awful lot like confidence. But here’s the secret: I’ve never quite been emotionally ready for a big change.
Instead, I’ve leapt without knowing where I’d land. If I’d land safely.
It’s all stemmed from a promise I made myself when I was a teenager: “I’d rather something terrible happen than nothing at all.”
This was the guiding principle of my life for several years before I amassed a heap of traumas. That’s when all the emotions I’d been blitzing past became too great to ignore. Pig piled on top of me.
Recovery was a slow crawl. But a decade later, I was brave again. Not the same person, not exactly. But I could leap again without fixating on the consequences of the fall.
Emotions Will Time Travel to Pursue You
As I write this, I’m grappling with a slew of feelings that lagged behind. From moving. Starting over again. I’m happy but I’ve gone into hibernation while I adjust.
The trouble with emotions is that they will come and find you, sooner or later. Time travelers. Some of their journeys are short: Hours, even minutes. Others come to you from days or weeks in the past. Still others will travel years, even decades, to find you.