Last Friday changed me. It wasn’t a big dramatic event that did it. No near death experience that would help get my act together. Not a win in the lottery either. But an uncomfortable experience, and a friend’s simple solution.
I am a quiet person by nature… or nurture, I’m still not sure on which side of the fence I lie. It’s probably a bit of both. Anyways for 22 years I’ve lived in fear of making a fool of myself. And so my solution was to make like an ostrich and hide my head in the sand*. If I didn’t make a mistake then no one could blame me right? But we all make mistakes, and if we’re not making mistakes, how are we learning? We’re hiding away from everything, hiding away from life.
And that was me… until Friday. Sure I’m not a completely changed person in one day. I’m not a boisterous loud mouth overnight. But I do feel a lot more confident in myself now, and while I still get that sick feeling in my stomach, the one that tells me to shut up and blend into the environment — it’s been reduced significantly.
While I won’t go into details about my uncomfortable experience of that day, basically it involved me putting a lot of effort into getting somewhere, only to sit back and keep to myself. My comfort zone only extended to one other person, and I wish I had done something different that day. But that’s what I’m used to doing. Blaming myself and feeling regret, saying I’ll do better next time. Well guess what? I don’t, and I rarely ever do.
Forget about the future. Now I’m living in the present and I’m going to make the best of the here and now. And y’know what? I don’t care if that sounds hoki, or new age, or hippie.
My friend’s advice was “Fuck it!”. Why care what others think of you? You only have a short time on this Earth. Why waste it? And I couldn’t find a reason to disagree with him. “Fuck them! Fuck birds! Fuck trees! Fuck grass! Fuck everything!” he shouted at the top of his voice.
While swearing itself wasn’t the solution to my problem, considering the emotional weight it bears for me personally, it has helped me take a dive off that roof-high diving board when fear has told me not to jump.
That night I spent time with a group of friends; some I knew well, some I hadn’t seen in a while. We played pool with a kooky stranger we met in a bar. We crammed five people into a car and ate pizza. We sang embarrassing songs along the motorway. And the best part of all was I didn’t give a rat’s ass of what people thought of me. It was fucking awesome!
I now leave you with an article I read that Friday morning. A foreshadowing of what that day would entail for me.
*Interesting fact: Ostriches don’t actually hide their heads in the sand. That’s a myth spread by a famous philosopher, Pliny the Elder. Thank god for the Internet huh? Or should I be thanking Al Gore?