Taking Flight


When I was a child, I went through a phase where I thought if I just believed enough I would be able to fly (this coincided with a phase of watching "Hook" over and over again). I would run across the back yard and jump as high as I could and as far as I could, and each time I landed hard on my feet I was surprised to find myself back on the ground. I would have dreams where I would fly up towards the vaulted ceilings of my childhood home, showing my awestruck relatives how they too could fly - always leading the way, never scared of falling.

When I would wake the next morning I would go out again. I'd jump off of rocks and widen my leaps. I'd keep going long after I should have lost faith. I'd climb a little higher and let the danger rise. Because I knew in my heart I could fly. 

That fearlessness even in the face of failure served me well as I grew up. I took big risks and suffered bruises but never regret. I spoke my mind, and though I was often wrong I was never uncertain. I was wholly weird and unapologetically authentic in everything I did. My dreams were audacious, but I would have bet every last dollar I had on my success. Even when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, I could feel greatness stirring inside me and I knew it was just a matter of time until that greatness took flight.

But somewhere along the line I stopped jumping off of rocks, believing I wouldn't hit the ground. I became a very sensible adult very early on in life. I put my ducks in a neat little row: I got married, bought a house, graduated college, had my babies, got my finances in order. I spent years working thankless jobs void of inspiration. I banked more on steady paychecks and security than my happiness.

And that's all fine and well. I'm glad I have lived my life in a way that has rewarded me so many blessings and so much peace and security. I was quite happy to work hard and keep my nose to the grindstone early on in life because my life hadn't really begun yet. It wasn't like I was a real grown up yet. When I was a real grown up things would be different. I'd be living out the big dreams. I'd find that greatness again.

But now I'm starting to realize that I am a real grown up. I've got two kids and all those other ducks under my belt. And it's true that since they've been born I've felt that greatness stirring inside me again. I'm finding my focus and and seeing once more those dreams I had forgotten or lost. I see what could be. I catch glimpses of that greatness. But the longer I look at the person I want to be, the more scared I become that she and I will never be one.

Though I've started to acknowledge my dreams and take small steps towards them, I've found myself frustrated with how timid I have become in seizing the things that I want. I find myself fearful of failure so much that I'm often just standing still. And I'm realizing as I evaluate those dreams that these baby steps just aren't cutting it anymore.

Because baby steps will only get you so far. When you reach the big hurdles in life, shuffling your feet along isn't going to get you where you need to be. At some point you need to leap.

And I'm there right now, standing in front of that looming hurdle of fear. Fear that I'm not good enough or experienced enough or real deal grown up enough to be who I want to be. It's time to leap on top of those big dreams, to believe once more that I can fly.
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