Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Coasting

I'd like to believe that the moment I decided not to pursue medicine, I decided to take my life into my own hands. That's not the complete truth, though. I have this habit of stepping out, taking a chance, and then coasting.

For a long time, I let things happen to me. I wasn't very good at taking charge of my life. I went with the flow, as they say, rather than considering what I really wanted out of life. That's how I ended up finishing a pre-med program with no desire to go to medical school.

It is, at least in part, how I ended up in Baltimore. It was a friend's suggestions and coaxing that started the process, and once the ball got rolling I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I didn't wonder if it was the right choice, I just let momentum take over. I applied for jobs, I interviewed, and in the end, I found myself in Charm City.

It was my decision to go back to school and get my degree in writing, and it was my choice to change careers and move in a new direction. Then I took the first writing job that came my way and have been coasting along there for six years.

I took a chance and chose to pursue a man, and then I floated for years through a relationship that was going no where. It was comfortable and so I stayed.

It seemed there was no adventure in my bones, no fearlessness or spunk.  It was there, though, lying dormant. I just failed to recognize it, to nurture it. Now and then I would feed it with small risks and tiny tastes of audacity, but it wanted more.

And eventually it got what it wanted. Over the last 18 months I have been exploring adventure. I've been making more conscious choices, and I practice choosing every day what direction I want my life to move in. I decided to become a yoga teacher and I made it happen. Once I finished my training, I carefully chose the classes I wanted to teach. And when a new teaching opportunity comes up, I weigh my options and make the choice I think is best at the time.

I've tried new things, like ending a stagnant relationship, exploring online dating, flying an airplane, auditioning for a teaching position, and submitting essays to Big Name publications. I've learned from my mistakes and I've made some new ones. But I've done most of it consciously.

There will always be times when it's easier to let life sweep us through the motions and there's nothing wrong with coasting on occasion. I just hope that I've learned enough to recognize when it's happening so that I can either choose to be swept away or make the effort to slow the current and take a different path.


Jill-Ann said...

We really do have to get together. I've always been the soul itching for adventure, ready to burst out of my box, push the proverbial envelope, fly, fly, FLY! I've resented those who have tried to hold me back. The thing is, sometimes there's real reason to take a breather and let things happen, and I get horribly impatient with that. I suspect that we could learn a lot from each other!! :)

Ami said...

Yes! I couldn't agree more. I think in the last year or so I've begun to strike a better balance between adventure and coasting, but I'm always open to learning from others! :)

Treefortninja said...

Wow, powerful stuff. I think you just inspired me to try Yoga!

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