Friday, July 17, 2009

Swift Kicks in the Ass

Something I wrote a long time ago is coming back to haunt me. "Always be confident, never be comfortable," or some such nonsense. Well, let me be honest, I don't think that's nonsense at all. Comfort leads to complacency, and complacency often leads to bad decisions made in the face of an unwillingness to change.

Until recently, change was one of the easiest things for me to accomplish. Changes in lifestyle, from richer to poorer and back again, never bothered me. They still don't, really, but the additions of some dogs and cats means that I have to take other living things into account when I decide to pack up and find another corner of the world to park my ass in, so to speak. Friends are never a problem, I'm notorious for keeping in touch, and the world is smaller now than it's ever been thanks to the communication age finally bearing the fruit it's been promising us for so long. There are, however, a few people, more than friends, that can make taking off a bit more difficult.

Still, the ultimate desire for change usually lies in one's selfishness, and I can be selfish when I need to be... or when I just feel like it.

That confession stated, I must point out something else that I wrote (this one just a couple of hours prior to this writing): "I'm hitting that point where I'm starting to understand that those moments when we realize that the world doesn't stop for us are the most important. Sad, most of the time, but they're great kicks in the ass when we need them."

And, as the person at the receiving end of my statement acknowledged for herself, I, too, am in dire need of some ass-kicking.

Life is still good for the most part, and there are definitely many lights at the end of many tunnels, but I'm stuck in a moment I can't seem to get out of. And in that moment, I am hesitant to change.

Financially speaking, my salad days were about seven years ago. No debt, a military career behind me, a fresh Bachelor's degree tacked on the wall of my conceited mind. Everything seemed great. But, like Jericho, those walls came tumbling down quickly.

As pessimistic as my writing tends to get, I am, and those who know me can attest to this, a foolish optimist. The best is always right around the corner, even if I'm running around with billboards wrapped around my neck claiming it's the end of the world. Hell, in the face of a surmounting debt, my career was given a jump-start by a friendly college professor, and the next couple of years found my resume slowly and steadily getting longer and more detailed.

I've been around the world, more than most, less than some, and have had opportunity knock me square in the face. Sometimes, if the mood and my world was right, I'd take the plunge with no concern for the depth of the water. Other times, if suffering from overbearing caution or the whims of others, I'd turn it down. There were, and are, no regrets, for the decisions were ultimately mine, and I made them. In my experience, while giving others a say-so in what you may or may not do is often wise, the opinions of others should never prevent you from following your own heart and your own dreams. That, I think, leads to the cracks that regret can seep through.

Today, I'm sitting on a precipice with nothing but steep slopes surrounding me. Any decision concerning a particular matter, be it career, education, location, what have you, will lead to a fall of some sort. And, trust me, each of these falls will hurt. None, however, are the end of the world. Not mine, not yours, not the world in literal.

Admittedly, this newfound and completely ridiculous desire to avoid change has led to the cliff that I now hang from. Friends, family, and even relative strangers alike have all afforded me the opportunity to avoid the situation I am currently in. Some of them even kicked me in the ass to do so, but my ass has been pretty numb lately, so I guess I didn't get the message. One friend even pointed out that I seemed to be suffering from both anxiety and depression, and maybe he's right. Needless to say, those who tried to help are all feeling a bit disappointed, and some are even regretting the decision to lend me a hand. I guess I was getting too comfortable. No longer.

I will not... let me repeat that... will not let these people down ever again. It's going to take a while to right this ship, but I remain forever confident. Blame it on selfish arrogance, but whatever. The universe can be Machiavellian, so why can't I?

Many, including myself, have been wondering why I've been waxing nostalgic so much as of late, and I truly believe that question was answered a couple of days ago. Something so improbable happened, it instilled a sense of euphoria I haven't felt in years. Euphoria I doubt I would have experienced without the recent crawls down memory lane.

"And I'm the nostalgia." Words spoken in immediate recognition of the concept. Dangerous words in their context, as a cousin very recently pointed out, but so what? Everyone carries their past with them wherever they go. And perhaps those words are true in a literal sense, but they definitely served up a swift kick when one was needed.

"And I'm the nostalgia." Yeah, but also so much more. A reminder that goodbyes are not written in stone and a realization that life takes you to places that you never thought you'd see, or see again.

I was a paratrooper a long time ago, and there was always the nagging expectation that I'd have to jump sometime. I guess it's time. I'm certain the impact will result in plenty of pain, but chances are I'm going to like it anyway. Life is for masochists, after all. Survival of the fittest, right?

The jump door is open, and the dropzone unfamiliar. Someone kick me in the ass before I get too comfortable on this piece of shit Air Force ride.

Ah, screw it. I can step out on my own.


  1. Gerard Rodrigue at 7:03am July 17
    cool story bro

  2. dropzone... I am not familiar with enlisted lingo, but this brings up a whole lotta images. Thanks for the post. -Jayne

  3. Fabulous writing. I hope you jump. I'll be there with you whether you know it or not.

  4. Great, Jeff.

    Seems to me like you know what you want to do, even if it is a bit scary. Or not even scary, just unknown.

    Your friends will be there, even if they aren't right next to you.

    Good luck.

  5. I sincerely doubt that those friends that offered help are disappointed in you.

    Any goodbye not offered in death is for now, not forever IMO.

    Good insights, if a bit harsh on the self-critical portion.