Sometimes I stare at the blank page before me and have no idea what to write. I am stuck, not sure how to start or what direction to head. So I hang out there, on the edge of the paper, staring at it. Then the silent staring begins to turn into a teeny whisper of worry. What if I can’t think of anything to write about? What if I have nothing left to say? Why hasn’t anything that has happened in my life sparked an idea?
What I have found is that the longer I hang out on the edge, the louder the worry and doubt becomes. It locks itself fully into my attention and won’t let go. In those moments I have three choices. First, I can continue to hang there and let the doubt grow bigger and stronger, making me more and more uncomfortable. Second, I can run away from the edge and distract myself with something else. There are countless other things I can focus my attention and occupy my time that have absolutely nothing to do with writing. Third, I can jump, into the page. I can just start writing and see what happens.
I’ll admit, I’ve taken all three paths at one point or another in my life. My old standby is the good old run and distract myself with something else. It is, by far, the easiest of the options for me, but I’m trying to learn to be more present and grounded in the moment, to stop running, to not allow the doubt to creep in. So today instead of running, I’m choosing to jump. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what I’m doing but doing something feels way better than the other alternatives.
I think we probably all feel stuck on the edge of something in our lives sometimes, particularly when it comes to parenting. Most of us are doing this for the first time, or dealing with a situation we have never faced before, so it’s difficult to know what to do sometimes. Maybe we are just not quite sure how to begin. Maybe we are afraid of making the wrong choice. Maybe we are afraid of letting someone, including ourselves, down. What I’ve learned, and am trying my best to put into practice in my life, is to just jump. We should trust ourselves to make the best decision we can right here and now in this moment.
And if you discover later that you jump in the wrong direction, that is OK. You will have learned something, maybe a lot of things, about what you do and do not want. The right path will become much more obvious, and you’ll feel better for having done something. Sitting paralyzed on the edge is a very scary and lonely place to be. I don’t want to hang out there anymore.
May I share a secret with you? I didn’t know what this blog was going to be about when I started. I just typed the truth I was feeling at that moment. And then I typed the next thing I felt and the next. They wove themselves together into what you’ve just read, a tiny piece of my truth, written down on paper. It is the end result of my jump.