Back when I was younger (as in two years ago), I was going out three or four times a week for casual margaritas and happy hours. I wasn’t working an aggressively early schedule and could afford to be up late spilling tea while low-key spilling water all over the table.
Just this week I managed to sit down with two good friends, both of which who I’ve known for about six or seven years. One is more like a mentor to me, the other a respected colleague. Since we work in similar fields, they’re the kind of friends who can understand career advice better then if I were to talk to my friends in business and health.
“When I know how to do something, I do it.” I explained with confidence while dipping some plantains into queso fundido. “And I do it again and again. But when I don’t know something, don’t know how to do it, I balk. I just do what I can.”
I’ve known this weakness about myself for a long time. But I’ve slowly realized it’s less of a personal weakness and more of a universal truth. The unknown is scary, and while the end result of something is gorgeous the journey can be tedious, harmful or filled with a bunch of little spikes ready to prick your toes like leftover legos scattered on the floor.
I’ve been flirting with the idea of doing stand-up for years and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m going to make it happen in 2019. But at the happy hour (and as I write this), I admit: I have no clue what I’m doing. I have an idea of what I need to do, but no clue how to execute it. And the end goal, of me on stage making a doofus of myself sounds awesome. But the journey to the destination is a quagmire of ‘is this right?’, ‘is this how I do it?’ or ‘what’s the technique I need?’
And hearing the stories of my friends over happy hour made me appreciate my journey and their own. One friend turned nothing into her own freelance operation which is blossoming due to her hard work and skill set. My other friend is turning work problems and family distress into laughter and strength. And here I am, complaining that I don’t know how to look for an open mic night and toss my butt on stage.
There were a few more topics which came up, including another direction I wanted to pursue with my free time. Ironically, the following morning I got an email that was like a sign from God. It was an opportunity I wanted to explore, one I had mentioned just at the happy hour the previous day. All I needed to do was do what I knew: reach out to the email. The unknown…well that would be handled as I went.
In moments of rain, the times when it’s easier to look for protective cover (like doing what you’re used to), or standing in the water (flailing under the pressure of who you want to be or what you want to do), the easy choice is to drown. But instead, look to the rain for energy. Look for the lightning that sparks the sky, contrasting against the dark colors with a flash of light. That might not be the forever answer, it might not be the exact destination. But it’s certainly a sign of something…even if that something still feels muddled in the rain.
I keep saying "I write" but don't share anything. So here we go, let's share.