Are you ready for your first time in the ocean?
No. Let’s go!
With that, a dear friend and I dashed down a short sculpted sand slope of Silver Strand Beach, and into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean. I drew two conclusions that day. The ocean is both beautiful and deadly, even when calm, and the answer to Are you ready? will nearly always be No.
A good thing too, because last month was a crash course in doing life when not ready. It’s part of the reason I’ve been internet silent except on Facebook for the last month. If you’d like to join the fun, the recipe is as follows.
1 mostly-planned move
1 week long trip with friends
1 brand new prescription medication
3 cups uncertainty
1 bowl of financial uncertainty
2 bowls of unexpected help from friends
1 week unexpected crashing at another friend’s place due to electronic banking confusion
Dash of extra frustration with utility companies to taste
Sounds like fun, huh?
Actually, for the most part it was. A recipe like that is a great test of whether the new medication is working or not (it is, thankfully) and how strong some friendships are, though you may not realize it.
Truth is, I wasn’t ready to move.
In fact, looking back on my life, I can say that most of the major steps I’ve taken I haven’t been ready for. University, roommates, therapy, coming out to friends and family (first as bi, then as trans), a social transition, any move I’ve ever made, my first step into the ocean to really experience what it’s like.
I’ll be honest, the salty, vaguely fishy taste that lingers on the skin and lips is rather enjoyable. And yes, I see the germaphobes gagging. 😉
I can name so many other experiences I wasn’t “ready for” either. Going to Cirque de Soleil for my birthday with a close friend. She decided I had to see it and bought my ticket. I didn’t know til later, she, thankfully, hadn’t paid for her own. Her later boyfriend, now fiance gave her the money to purchase hers, because he wanted to be sure she didn’t buy her own birthday gift but also that we sat together. One of my best birthdays by far.
I wasn’t ready for my first time on stage, either, but I did it anyway, and had a blast.
I’m never ready to post a blog, but hey, that’s life.
Fact is, I’m not sure where we got this idea that “ready” is a requirement to try something new. If we spend our lives waiting til we’re ready to do something, how much do we miss? How many memories will we never make because we stepped back, instead of stepping into the chance for the memory of a lifetime?
Sometimes, it won’t work out. It’s true. At times, we’ll step out into the world, proclaiming our not-readiness, but we’ll do it anyway, and we’ll fall flat on our face. Happens to the best of us, the worst of us, and everyone in between.
In the words of the Ninth Doctor
See, even if I end up flat on my face (proverbial or literal) I can usually learn a thing or two. That’s what’s so wonderful. So, the next time someone asks:
Are you ready?
If you’re not, just follow these three steps.
- Say No.
- Do it anyway
Because whether you regret it later or not, you won’t wonder whether you might’ve regretted it.
What do you think? Ever done something terrifying (or just slightly off-putting) because you weren’t ready for it, and ended up glad you did? What was it? Share your stories in the comments! I’d love to learn from you.
And tomorrow, I’ll discuss the Art of Being a Guest.