Responsibility

Two years ago, I stood on the ledge in the redwood trees 40 feet in the air, utterly paralyzed by fear. Though I was harnassed and helmeted and supposedly “safe” I didn’t feel that way at all. I was supposed to jump off the ledge – into thin air – and trust that everything would be alright.

I stood there longer than anyone else in our group, because I – literally, try as I might – could not make myself jump. I was waiting for that spark of motivation, that intuitive feeling that might inspire me to move forward. Nothing.

Until Patrick, our leader, spoke to me from down below, calmly and solidly: “It is time.”

And I jumped.

Sometimes you need to do what you don’t want to do to move your life forward.

I used to hate it when people would tell me I have to do things I don’t want to do. “That’s life,” they said. “There is a better way to live,” I said: with ease and happiness. I saw so many adults drudging along with their daily tasks and being unhappy and I thought, that’s can’t be right. That isn’t a way to live.

Somewhere along the way, I collapsed the idea of responsibility with misery. And, in avoiding the things that I hated doing, I also avoided the joy that I could have on the other side of having finished those tasks.

The rush I felt after that jump I will remember for the rest of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling. I had leaped into the unknown and survived. Unfathomable.

I want to feel stronger and healthier but I refuse to go to the gym. I want to earn more money, but I am avoiding acting on the helpful suggestions others have given me. I want to feel calmer and more connected to God, and yet I skip prayer because something else “comes up”. I want to feel a sense of solidity within myself and my life, but I keep putting off the steps I know I need to take in order to feel that sense of accomplishment.

These things are supposed to happen all by themselves, right?. While a part of me knows this is ridiculous, more of me wants to hold on to the fantasy. I don’t want to grow up. Be an adult? Bah. That’s stressful and yucky and bo-ring.

But if I am honest with myself, it is far more stressful to not be responsible for my own life. It’s actually pretty exciting to think I can make these decisions for myself. Real, grown-up decisions. Like a real adult.

And so, I unveil my 2012 Intention to myself: Responsibility. Every year, I like to come up with a theme as the umbrella for my year. This is it.

Responsibility for my own happiness.

It is time.