Have you ever had one of those moments when you trip or stumble and time slows down in your mind as your body struggles to catch itself or compensate to avoid hitting the ground? The mind is working at light speed, making everything else seem like a freeze frame, and you think you might be about to catch yourself in the nick of time and end up looking silly but still standing up on two feet.
That’s kind of a metaphor for my adult life.
We’ve all made mistakes, chosen the wrong path or cemented the wrong decision and ended up living the following days, years or months with the consequences of them. I can think of a dozen life-alteringly terrible choices that I’ve made that led to the predicaments I find myself enduring today. Some were as simple as which college to go to or whether or not to give a certain person the time of day. Others were more obviously monumental and all of them were choices I made with complete awareness that the consequences would be mine to deal with. Some have turned out to be as rewarding as they were challenging.
Still, I feel as if I’ve been cartwheeling my metaphorical arms and willing gravity to release me for the last fifteen years and I’m really tired of the struggle. I’m tired of fighting to avoid what most people would accept as the inevitable and hoping for an outcome that evades me everytime I get within sight of it. Just when I think “I’m totally going to recover, I’ve just about got my balance!” some unseen force seems to snatch that feeling of self-control away. Every moment that my mind starts to tiptoe into security and I begin to imagine myself standing still, uninjured and able to start walking away from the scene of my nearly hitting the ground with a painful thud, I come jarringly closer to the impact.
There’s almost always an audience for these moments, too. A crowd of onlookers who wait to see what will happen, their faces a tapestry of concern and amusement, holding their collective breath for the seconds they are watching your seemingly eternal nosedive and silently betting on what the outcome will be. They are mostly unaffected.
If I ever finish this stumble, if I am able to come out of this ungraceful swan dive upright, I want to walk away with my head held high. I want to learn to run. Mostly, though, I’m just tired of falling.