I’m going to start this post by partially quoting Sarah (or Dopp if you’re a nasty):
“…becoming just as boring, complacent, uninspiring, and useless as I feared I would if I ever chose a traditional path over living an extraordinary story.”
That’s a helluva a confession to make. It was the “living an extraordinary story” bit that hit me. My immediate response, from the older than I actually am voice that I forever depend upon to guide me out of any kind of hectic bullshit, provided the soothing thought that an extraordinary story has many chapters. Yes. That is true and good. We may be in the chapter where nothing extraordinary is happening because the narrative of our life demands it. Many chapters.
My next thought though, the more impulsive me that likes to stamp her feet and chew her inner cheek, the woman who is a bit less calm and a lot more demanding, replied, “I am living an extraordinary story because I continuously choose the improbable path.” Like, all the time. Every time. At all the major crossroads of my life I have veered into the “there’s a pretty good chance this won’t work out but it will be so fucking awesome if it does” direction.
When I was a young woman other people had planned my life perfectly to fit their needs best. There it was, my existence, laid out like a freshly pressed suit and all I had to do was slip it on, tuck my shirttails and get to work. I couldn’t do it. I found out that I’d rather face the unknown repeatedly instead of slowly suffocating in the comfort of inevitability. My successes aren’t impossible ones, just highly improbable. And I don’t avoid convention for the sake of claiming some kind of unconventional cred. Really. If I’m given a choice, once I weigh my options, the improbable is consistently the most attractive. The most intriguing. The most shiny. And the most rewarding. My life is full of stories that even I sometimes can’t believe.
When I start to feel my life headed in some kind of long term inevitable direction, I get sad. I think my lovers can feel that in me… the heaviness of inevitability and it is the only burden I can’t bear.
Everything else is on the table. Uncertainty, insecurity, sacrifice, humility, loneliness, vulnerability, rejection… those are the parts of life that I always expect to be in the process of negotiating.
My point is that at 35, I can confidently say I am in the midst of living an extraordinary story. And I’m really grateful for everyone I stumble into on this path of improbability. The connections I make are the best kind of reinforcement for unconventional living. I meet you and you and you and we together get to experience some amazing things. I want to say that whenever the improbable appears with a potential reward worth the risk, choose it and you’re on the path to extraordinary. What that looks like differs so greatly from person to person, there is no absolutism to offer. Simply the intent behind the decision. My intent is always to see what happens if…
(Many thanks to Sarah for sharing her thoughts and fears. And for being my brain buddy.)