Realistically Speaking…

As re-booters we are forging new ground for ourselves—this is not easy work. There is lots of rocky soil to till, boulders to overcome, and demands for new irrigation. Re-booting demands an enormous amount of blood, sweat, and tears and the entire time, we are highly susceptible to questioning ourselves and our choices. Such notions are most dangerous when we receive the (jealous) “wisdom” of others.

 

With any sort of change, there are those who will feel threatened or even repudiated by our efforts to move in another direction. They will resort to many a desperate tactic to dissuade us from our new path, and, occasionally, this deterrence or criticism will come from those we trust.

 

It’s difficult to know how to balance our aspirations with pragmatism and the hard won wisdom of those we go to for guidance. They may listen and fold their arms, punctuating our monologue of dreams with the occasional frown or chuckle, and then, they tell us what they really think. “Uh, oh’” we worry to ourselves, “they think we’re crazy or wildly impractical to head in this new direction,” given my age…the already saturated marketplace…the experiences of prior advice seekers…what have you. We worry that we’re delusionally arrogant to imagine trying this. If we probe further as to the basis for their opinion, sometimes they get angry. “Oh,” we privately cringe, “my chances are even worse than I imagined.”

 

But, the fact of the matter is, it’s just as likely that what we’re trying to achieve in our lives triggers all sorts of personal discomforts for them. Maybe they want to escape their current reality and become a fly fisherman or an arbitration expert or sell their art work. Instead of encouraging us, they tell us how hard it is to make it, or how our temperament and outsized ambition make it unlikely we’ll succeed–how there’s no market for what we’re peddling. “I’m just being honest,” they shrug.

 

The challenge for re-booters is that we’re already nervous and doubtful about our chances. We already torture ourselves with questions about our sanity and arrogance. We’re nervous nellies who understand that what we want is elusive—but we act out of hope. So then, how do we balance our goals and dreams against the discouraging advice of others? Can we benefit from their cautionary wisdom without being deterred? Can we make sense of what people who seem to know more than we do when they tell us we’re overreaching?

 

How?

 

In many respects, I feel like Lab Rat A in this experiment. For over the past two years, as I’ve uprooted my life and reversed course in my career, I’ve been blindly stumbling along a foggy path where I’m not 100% sure of where I’m going or what I’m doing. I’ve launched a blog where I share these adventures and observations, but who knows if it’s had any impact at all. I read articles about the exponentially diminishing prospects of the long term unemployed. The world is a hive of activity and I’m stuck in a beaker, looking out. So, what do I do? I do what I can. I do what’s in front of me. I follow conventional wisdom about what I “should” be doing, but add in my own private efforts for the parts that really interest me. And I only selectively listen to those who tell me they’re being honest about my chances.

 

And then, I hope.

 

What about you?

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2 Responses to “Realistically Speaking…”

  1. Julie Says:

    I think your blog does make a difference. I know that I am always struck by its absolute, unflinching honesty, and by the wisdom you often share. This has been a long journey for you, but you’ve learned so much about yourself along the way. You are a survivor. Never doubt it!

  2. helenga Says:

    Your blog absolutely makes a difference to me AND to my Dad. He loves to hear your thoughts and insights and we’re both struck by the amazing breadth of your knowledge! Thank you for what you do to inspire those of us in the boat with you! We’ll all hit land one of these days armed with greater insight. 🙂

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