The blankness of the year ahead prods at me with its deafening silence, and the pressure of knowing that it is my responsibility alone to fill those pages eats away at my subconscious. I feel the weight of possibility.
Jonathan Safran Foer once said, “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” I agree wholeheartedly. Sometimes the pressure of possibility can be far more intense than the even the stress and responsibilities associated with having a designated path – particularly when you are someone prone to the seductiveness of possibility, the “what-if,” and the meanderings of your unbridled imagination.
I know I spend much more time than I’d like to admit entertaining the idea of living out of a tiny RV, driving up the coast, playing music and making a living off of sunshine, laughter and the thrill of adventure.
I have also contemplated the idea of moving to Africa and building mud huts. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless, and the thought that you could take your life in any direction you choose is sometimes more mentally paralyzing and less liberating than one might think. Extreme liberation and possibility leaves the feeling of responsibility. You alone are responsible for what happens and for what doesn’t happen in your life. You cannot drift through life; you must drift with purpose.
“Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.”
– Richard Bach
In a way, it’s beautiful – the simultaneous pressure and liberation that comes with choice. Paint your canvas. Dabble. Take risks. Throw a few colors on the palate that you’ve never tried before. I’ve learned that the most memorable times in my life have been moments that have resulted from taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone. A bad date makes for a much funnier story than a great one.
The challenge this year: Throw a corkscrew into things. Say something off color. Be powerful. Get off of autopilot and wake up. Truly be alive – feeling, thinking and experiencing every minute. What are the pipe dreams and ambitions on your list? Dabble and dip your toes in them all. Hopefully, by the end of 2011, your canvas will an explosion of color.