Trap of the Familiar

Posted on October 9, 2012

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My previous blog didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted, but I won’t rewrite it. Until we run out of digital “ink” or some sort of real estate to hold our thoughts, that thought was the child of whatever seed had been planted, a creation belonging to what has been churning inside of my head and my heart lately, even if not a complete thought.

The reason it doesn’t resonate with me is because I took the safe way out; I stuck to lessons that were familiar and I didn’t say what I really needed to. My Friday morning ritual of late has been a sunrise on the beach before an ihop breakfast, which I did prior to brainstorming my last blog (honestly, there was too much time between events). It was, in a lot of ways, comforting as it always is; I do love time spent at the beach, but after a brief walk, it occured to me how hollow it really was. If you aren’t familiar with Virginia Beach, at least the area known as the “Boardwalk”, the landscape is covered with tacky tourist traps and hotels that have probably been there longer than I have been alive. The sand isn’t even “native”; a lot of it gets shipped in from other areas. (To be fair, anyone who has lived near the ocean understands erosion is a danger to any shoreline.) But, allowances notwithstanding, it isn’t a real beach, not in my book. It’s artifical, it’s sterile. There is no heart in it, no ferocity.

And it occured to me just how true that has become of me. I went to that beach because it was comfortable; I’ve been there many times before to see the sunrise. Nothing wrong that it inherently, but something in me really longed to be somewhere else, anywhere else I hadn’t been before. A place I didn’t know, something new, unfamiliar.

I think all of us deal with losing that fire as we get older. Younger men wage wars, even young dreamers and idealists fight their own kind of wars. As we grow older, we start to lose that spark. Some of it is sensibility, yes. Finding balance in the equation, but I think if we’re not careful, we lose that drive to innovate; we forget what it is like to be hungry. Ambition gives way to acceptance of our “place” and we coast into our Fall and Winter.

For reasons I won’t divulge here, I have always felt I had a handicap in this area. I learned to not ask for things, not expect good things. I learned fear and quiet acceptance were my best bet, though perhaps it is more accurate to say I was taught fear. I did not learn my voice until I was a teen and things were so chaotic that I became afraid of it. I’ve found balance since then, but there is a lingering anxiety that still follows me that I will not take what is mine or that I will go too far when the time comes. Or not far enough.

What I really wanted to say with my previous blog was that I am in desperate need of trying something new, something that scares the hell out of me. I need to be introduced to myself all over again, and I honestly don’t have anything to prove to anyone but myself. There are things I cannot reconcile until I find that bridge between the duality I see in myself; that duality being the part of me that holds onto the hope that I can accomplish significant things and the part that just doesn’t have faith.

This is not the season of safety. This is a season of discovery. Perhaps chance taking is the pursuit of youth; maybe it is the job of the elders to provide wisdom and maintain consistency (in good ways) as an anchor. As I am standing here, no longer in my 20s but not nearly in my 40s yet; there are still some defining moments to be had, and they won’t happen living life as I have been.

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