the argument i would extend in favor of doing the things you want to do and think you cannot is that they build on one another.
i smoked a cigar. i had a fling. i spoke in public. i went to paris. i piloted a plane. i left the airport in warsaw. i flew on the trapeze. i shot a gun.
truthbomb: i am a horrible coward.
no, like, really really horrible. i dream big and talk big and then before every single thing i do, i'm stricken with total panic.
i will die from mouth cancer! he will fall madly in love with me! i will be slaughtered in the french streets! we will crash into the sears tower! i will be slaughtered in the polish streets! i will die! i will shoot the dog!
but here's the thing: i haven't died yet. and i didn't shoot the dog.
these things we think we cannot do but do build on one another. the more you do, the more you realize you can do.
my father sent maybe the best email ever the other night. its bestness stems solely from this sentence: "you are getting a chance to fulfill dreams that both your mother and i had, each individually, and together, but never got to do (so far)."
these things build on one another. not just in our own lives, but across the lives of others. up and across the generations. which is, at once, deeply narcissistic, but also romantic and mightily encouraging.
here's how you fly on a trapeze:
you climb a freakishly skinny ladder.
you get buckled into a harness.
you stand at the edge of a platform.
you grip a bar with your two hands.
you bend your two knees.
you take one hop into nothingness.
you swing through the air.
you put your knees back over the bar.
you let go.
you swing through the air.
you pull yourself back up to the bar.
you unhook your knees.
you back-flip onto a net below.
then you back-flip off the net.
when kti and i first got to the trapeze place, we marveled at how the people in the class before us back-flipped off the net. we thought, "no way in hell will we ever be able to do that!" turns out, that was the easy part.
but we were capable of more than we knew. so often, we are.
in the past week, as i've been waiting for things to line up for my next adventure as i want them to, waiting for them to fall into place in the order that i have arbitrarily deemed right, i've found myself thinking back to that moment on the platform, when i held the bar in my hand, stood there knees bent, and took a small hop into nothingness.
i think back to that and it's like watching someone else. some other person, far braver than i, who got up there and did something i've always wanted to do but never ever could.
and, yet, that was me. i know it because my arms and abs are still sore. but still it's hard to reconcile. that i was there. that, cowardly as i am, i did that.
it does, however, help with what's next, what's coming. i didn't shoot the dog. i haven't died yet. bar in hand, knees bent, i can jump. and i can let go.