Monday, July 6, 2015

Making a U-Turn in Your Life

U-Turns are sudden and often risky maneuvers. But we do them because we're clearly headed in the wrong direction, and instead of circling around town for an hour, we make a rapid decision to change course.

Life is no different. Too often we are headed in the wrong direction, and we know it. But we are too scared to make any sudden change. We are terrified of jerking the wheel, so we would rather mosey about hoping that our course aligns itself. But we know life isn't that easy. We don't have a GPS that will automatically recalculate and get us back to our destination in a few quick turns. Life is more complicated, sinuous and messy. So sometimes the only thing you can do to get your life back, or to change your life is to jerk the wheel, screech the tires and barrel into the traffic and chaos of life.

Maybe you have a dream that is laying dormant in your soul. It is probably something you will shoot for when life settles down. It's probably something that you will do when you have more time or more money. Maybe it is a childhood dream that has been crushed by the reality and collective cynicism of adulthood. Whatever it is, whatever form your dream takes it should be chased and followed. The sad irony of dreams is that when you are a child everyone tells you that anything is possible and that you should follow what makes you happy, but when the stark reality of adulthood hits everyone is suddenly breaking it to you that your dreams aren't realistic, that your dreams are simply dreams not realities. My response to this way of thinking that has been conditioned in us as we break from a world of toys, creativity, and endless whimsy into a life of mortgage payments, student loans, and nagging lovers, is to make a U-Turn.

If you have a dream in you, a light aching to escape through the cellar doors of your soul, then let it out. A U-Turn in life will take sacrifice and certainly difficult changes. But let's not forget why we made the U-Turn. We did it because we were fed up with the path we were on. The direction we were headed either wasn't taking us anywhere, or was taking us to someplace dark and untoward.

I know for myself and the way I function I need to take a reckless U-Turn about once a week. I am easily distracted and frequently miss my exits, but that's okay. Too much of life people waste in self-deprecation, in complaining about what they haven't done, or never will do. Too much of this precious and fading life is spent on bemoaning the fact that we are off course, instead of getting back on course, no matter how radically.

So follow your damn dreams and don't let a wrong exit, a flat tire or a "No U-Turns" sign stop you from moving forward. There is great beauty and promise out there for everyone, but we cannot be afraid.

"Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall" 

~Ray Bradbury