I’ve never been one to stick to the beaten path. Even when I give it a shot, and feel like I’m doing what people have prescribed as the “right thing to do”, I find myself happily frolicking in the weeds, swimming upstream, or as it’s been for the past few months, staring in disbelief at the map. I’m digging right at the spot with the big red X on it and I haven’t found anything yet.
Genuine learning rarely feels good when you’re doing it. There’s a sick sensation when you see the gap between what you’re doing and what sort of competence is actually required. It’s even worse when what you need is not academic or manual- but rather a matter of fortitude. A belief that what you’re doing is right; the instinct to bet on yourself.
Right now, I’m playing something of a game of chicken with…what is it? Fate? Time? The universe? Convention? Whatever it is, every direction except straight ahead is a complete compromise and a step away from what I want my life to look like. If I flinch to the left, I end up administrating. Flinch right, and I have to move to where there may be a position for me, but no gigging. So what happens if I don’t flinch?
We’re about to find out. I’ll tell you: betting on yourself doesn’t look like swagger. It doesn’t feel like confidence, or some clever quip. It’s terrifying. There is a very real chance that my best efforts won’t be enough and I’ll end up who knows where doing who knows what. But if I do, I’ll at least know that it wasn’t because I bet against myself. Maybe I’ll build a house in the weeds. Maybe I’ll learn to tack into the wind. Maybe the red X on the map is where things begin.