Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Making the Leaps

I wrote yesterday about the Inauguration and trying to make changes, a theme I've been on since the first day of this blog and it's no wonder. Change is good. It presents me with new opportunities. Then it's just a matter of having the courage to make the leap.

Last night my wife and I were watching the first season of Parenthood. It's a good show. In the episode, one woman was trying something new, something daring. I liked that but, at the end of the episode, she gave it up. In another story-line, a mother told her grown-up daughter that she had always respected how the daughter had taken chances. The daughter in question is a train-wreck who has made some really lousy decisions in her life.

My wife said, "but she takes stupid chances."

"There's a certain courage to doing that," I said.

We probably disagree on that. That's okay. Just saying it was a good thing for both of us. We aren't big risk-takers. We live a good life and have a deep love for one another, but we don't take many chances. That can change.

Taking chances doesn't have to mean leaping out of airplanes or moving to Spain, though those would be doozies. It means taking a leap of some kind.It can be as simple as taking a class, going away for a weekend, or trying new food. Taking chances can be as simple as making changes.

That character in Parenthood could use a bit of common sense, but so too could we use a bit of recklessness and courage to take leaps.

Here's a silly leap that has been wonderful: My mom and I went for coffee today because we went to lunch last week and had a good time. Last week we got into heavy stuff. This week it was lighter. Both times were good. Before last week's lunch, both Mom and I worried about taking the leap. Now we have a two-week tradition of hanging out together. It's a good habit and all it took was a tiny leap. These are the kinds of changes I am talking about.

I am beginning from a point of happiness. The women in Parenthood are unhappy, lost and feeling trapped. Hey, I remember those feelings! When I felt trapped, lost, and unhappy, my desires for change were frantic and, in the end, unsuccessful. I was working against something, pushing hard, but finding that the problems pushed back just as hard against me.

A leap has everything to do with gravity. In the picture above, the leaper is leaping across. Those women in the show and the me from the past were trying to leap from a very low place up to a much higher place and across a wide gulf. I fell most every time. Starting from happiness puts the two ledges on the same plane and it's just a matter of having the courage to jump across. I might still fall short, but the risk is what makes it worthwhile to leap.

I'm finding my way forward, looking for places from which to take my leaps, finding happiness, and writing on.