I don’t know about you, but this is the farewell that I often give the people in my life. Seems normal, right? Nothing strange there.
I was thinking this morning about what I was going to write for this Thursday’s Throwback and because my brain is a bizarre place, it went on a tangent and I came to the realization that there are so many more useful things we could say to the people we love on their way out the door. You see, I think we are very good at being safe. I think we do that very well. I get that when you tell someone to be safe, you mean it in the physical sense. You don’t want them to get hit by a car or kidnapped or whatever terrible thing you think might just happen. I get that. But I really do think we are very good at avoiding those awful happenings, and reminding everyone not to get kidnapped is actually a strange thing to do. We are constantly in safe-mode naturally.
Bear with me here.
My point is that I actually think we are far TOO good at being safe. Obviously we should watch out for cars or be wary of strange people with giant butterfly nets following us, but in the grand scheme of everything, we keep our lives very small and guarded. We are comfortable being right where we are, with the people we have always been with and we actually need a big push to do anything remotely uncomfortable. That feeling of uneasiness is yucky, so every day we make sure our lives are in order so we don’t have to feel it.
The thing is, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Our lives may be comfortable and we are rarely in danger, but they are small. We go to the same grocery store to eat the same food with people we see all the time. Then we go to sleep in the same bed and wake up to a job we kind of like, but want more from.
Anais Nin, who spoke those words above, was a well-known author in the early to mid 1900s. She was great with her words and wrote many a journal, essay and erotic novel, but had a (slightly) insane personal life. Here’s what I could find:
She married young, had a bunch of affairs with a) her therapist, b) an American writer and c) a Harvard musician (just to name a few). She ended up marrying the musician in secret even though she was still married to husband #1. She lived between Los Angeles and New York with her two husbands (husband #1 not being aware of husband #2) and called her simultaneous marriages her “bicoastal trapeze”. She had to carry around a “lie box” in her purse because of the intricate lies she constantly told. This box contained details of all of her secrets, cheque books and identification with different names she went by, corresponding with one of the two lives she was leading.
Now, as entertaining as Nin’s life was, I’m not telling you to have 2 husbands or live a double life with your lover in Los Angeles. BUT, you have to admit that Anais took some risks and had some stories. (Although, when you find yourself needing a “lie box” to keep track of yourself, things have gotten out of control, honey.)
I think we need to find the middle ground. Some balance between always playing it safe and being reckless. I think we are scared of failing which is why we stay put. We need to learn that failure is ok. Sometimes being uncomfortable is good for us.
So, instead of saying “be safe!” to our people before they go out into the world, I propose we should think about what our wish for their lives actually is. Obviously, “don’t die” is one of them, but maybe add a little “be brave!” to it as well. Or, “Go have an adventure!” Or, “Go try and (maybe) fail at something today.” Of course these things sound ridiculous when you say them out loud, but you get the idea. We definitely need little reminders to step out of our comfort zone, and a daily one saying it’s ok to be uncomfortable might be just the ticket.
And if the people in your life really need you to remind them to not get kidnapped everyday, then I think you might have bigger problems on your hands. Just sayin.
The end. Happy Thursday. Love you! Now, go be brave!