Growing up, I was the kid who bounced back and forth between timidity and daring. My OEs often got in the way of “socially acceptable” behavior. When you start jumping up and down and yelling excitedly about something you really love, people tend to look at you sideways like, “Chill, kid.” So, happiness ends at age 12? No, just outward expressions, seemingly. It took me awhile, but I eventually caught on- dial happiness back from a 22 down to a 7 and people will find you more acceptable. That sucked.
So, I trudged through my teen years dialing it back…way back. I never knew I could enter the negative on the dial until I hit my teens. Sure, every teen gets bummed, but I never realized giftedness came with extra gifts- high highs and low lows. Yeah, sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Timidity was ruling my world. It made things manageable and people seemed to like me better. Well, most people. Moving into my 20s was much of the same. Learning how to fit in was brutal. I may be able to devour a Harry Potter book in a day, but learning how to be “normal” about killed me.
Where is she going with this? What happened to daring?
I’m getting there.
Just painting the background scenery-you know. Think Jackson Pollack-lots of colors, something to say, difficult for others to understand, and messy.
Like a turtle in a shell, I did lots of popping my head out only to have it smacked back inside. It hurt. Now you know why turtles go into their shells as soon as you get into their faces. You never know what’s coming at you. I had lots of practice with timidity, yet throughout my 20s, I added some alcohol and partying and let my daring shine too. Smack. Retreat. Hide in my shell and then peek again. I repeated that over and over never finding a real balance.
Rehearsing helped, but I soon realized it was easier to learn to love my own company and choose a few, select friends who understood my extremes. In large groups, even with rehearsing how to tone it down or stay on a respectable 7, my mouth often betrayed me. My mouth, has always been daring. People tell me my mouth isn’t quite attached to my brain and often it isn’t. It seems to have a mind of its own. One that doesn’t know timidity. If I speak, it’ll probably come out as daring. But here’s the deal, so what? Yes, I get that I hurt people sometimes with my thoughtless, exorbitant proclamations, but you know what, yours do too. Mine are just louder and super charged. My 30s continued with extremes.
You would think by the time you’re 40, you’ve got everything figured out and actually, in my 40s, I’m so close to getting there. I hate to admit it, but I am growing up. These days I’m able to work in more of the balance that may have benefited me in my younger years. I was just never able to give up that vibrancy and didn’t realize that I didn’t really need to. There is a way to be daring and be timid at the same time. It’s called balance.
Balance doesn’t mean boring. God help me if I’m ever boring because I won’t like my own company and honestly, if you don’t like your own company, you’re screwed. You’re doing something wrong.
Balance is where your vision changes from all of those colored lenses and filters of youth into being more of a selective shooter that comes with experience. I’ve allowed myself to recapture my vibrancy, go a little crazy whenever I want to, and yet chill and relax to center myself. Life is about living. Sometimes it’s LOUD and sometimes it’s calm. BOTH can benefit you and there’s no need to stake your claim with one or the other.
So, by finding balance, I’ve learned I can keep my daring. I don’t have to grow old and weary with life. In some ways, I’m more daring than I’ve ever been.
Find your inner turtle and bask in the sunshine once in awhile. Other days, shoot through the current and swim as fast as you dare.