I don't like to make mistakes. For a living I help people avoid new mistakes and take care of past ones. I have friends who jump into new adventures with abandon. They leap before they look. They take on anything that comes their way. Not me. I look and look and look before I leap. I weigh consequences of action over and over again until I have talked myself out of taking on something new or the opportunity has passed and I am left waiting on the sidelines.

I want to change this about myself. I want to write and not worry that people won't like what I'm saying, won't connect with what I'm feeling, won't appreciate my point of view. I'm worried about trying to run a half-marathon. I worry that if I take on challenges and fail that I will feel worse than if I had not attempted them at all, that I will disappoint those who believed in me, that they, and I, will think less of me for having failed. I worry that I did not accept and fall into relationships that came my way. It pains me to think of opportunities that have gone by, of friendships not made and love not tested and work not done. I want to take the road less traveled, to trek off the beaten path, to forge new ground. And yet... I am afraid.

I am afraid of what the future may bring, that maybe good things will happen, maybe my dreams will be realized, maybe my hopes will come true... and then what will I hope for? Will I appreciate what I have when I have it? Do I appreciate it now? I am afraid that if I jump into life I will leave behind others sitting and waiting. I want to hold to what I have and I also want to move on to new and different. Can I do both of these things? Can I remain grounded in the present with my eyes cast far ahead? Can I leave behind all those doubts, can I silence them just long enough to try and leap? Can I believe enough in myself to throw away the concern that creeps in, that asks me to stay where I am and not venture out?

The answer is that I don't know. I don't know if leaping without looking will give me the results I seek. I don't know if throwing caution to the wind will feel comfortable, will let me breathe, will let me go. Maybe feeling comfortable is not the right feeling. Maybe the butterflies and nervousness are signs of good things yet to come. Maybe if I can just, for one second, believe enough in myself to know that I can handle just about anything, maybe then I can shrug off that doubt and worry and I can look for new challenges and I can welcome them and I can try. Maybe I can live without regret and I can know in my heart that decisions I made were made with the best intentions. Maybe I can know that trying and failing is not a bad thing. Maybe I can understand that challenges taken and failed teach us more than challenges taken and conquered. When we fail we learn that we are more than we thought, that we are greater than we had imagined, that our life is more about doing and less about waiting. And maybe knowing that no matter what I do or don't do, no matter what I write or don't write, no matter how far I run, no matter how many mistakes I make, it will all turn out ok in the end.

After all, this is the life.
- a