While going through some old correspondence this past week, I ran across two letters from two different friends (written to me when I was between 20 and 22) where they both described me as someone who sits back and lets things happen rather than making things happen, who lets others have the control. Not in an accusatory way, just as context in philosophical discussions (via pen and paper, back in the caveman days when we used to correspond that way). I’m totally freaked out that this may still be true. An excerpt from one:
“You have always been fairly passive as a person, allowing things to go on around you and participating only when you felt comfortable… You can’t let those around you direct you because we do not see into your heart the way you do. The act of NOT DOING is what kills.”
Had it just been one friend who said this, I could write it off as just one person’s opinion. But it was two different people, written almost 2 years apart. It really hit me hard – this is how other people see me. At least, it used to be. I know people change but do people really change all that much?
I guess I’m pretty good at NOT DOING. I’m afraid that others see this as NOT THINKING. That couldn’t be more wrong. I’m always thinking, to the point where I have trouble shutting my brain off when I need to, and often I get myself so emotionally wound up that I get confused and muddled and then can’t have a proper conversation because my brain HAS shut off. If you think it’s maddening talking to me sometimes, let me assure you that it’s even more maddening to be me.
So I’m going to think about this more, and try to evaluate whether the above statement was ever really true; if it’s still true; if so, to what degree; and regardless of whether it is or was true or not, I know I need to gather my courage and make some things happen. If not now, when? Later? Later = never. And that is the problem.
And shit, I’m talking about starting with things as small as calling someone to come out and replace our 30 year old carpet, which we’ve needed to replace for the past 10 years. But I get locked up because I don’t know who to call, how not to get screwed on price, how we’re going to be able to afford it, should I do more research, etc. etc. So rather than just making a damn decision, I don’t do anything. That’s way easier, but the problem never goes away.
My friend was not talking about calling carpet installers, though.
(In my defense, though, I did make one big scary life changing decision more than 5 years ago (a joint decision with lots of discussion around it, to be sure), and that resulted in the creation of the most fabulous person on the face of the planet. So there’s that…)