Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Things I Didn't Do

Avoided tests. It's one of those concepts I learned in college and is still in my mind 20 years later for some strange reason. It basically means not doing something because you assume a certain fact to be true. Like, if there was a company you wanted to work for, but didn't call them because someone told you they weren't hiring. That would be an avoided test. The crux of the lesson, of course, was to avoid avoided tests because they could be an obstacle to your success.

People like to make lists of "The Things they Want to Do", but I feel compelled today to write a list of "The Things I Didn't do."
While it is not a list of avoided tests, per say, they tell of times when I didn't do something I set out to.

1. Mustering the courage to write for my college newspaper, getting my first assignment: an article on beekeeping and then chickening out.

2. Registering for a TV production class, but cancelling it after the first day because of the intimidating video project.

3. Starting to write a story for a contest about the naughtiest thing my dog has ever done-- when she ate a hole through the bathroom door-- but then quitting after it became too much of a struggle. (I totally would have won, too. That is, if I had finished it.)

4. Volunteering to be a parent blogger for a my son's progressive preschool. Having a great idea to write about the time I got to throw mud with the kids, hurling me back to my own childhood-- but then never doing it and failing to post anything on the blog the entire year.

5. And finally... creating a blog in August 2012, writing a handful of posts and then letting it sit, pretty much postless for years (with the exception of 2013).

All of these are things I really wanted to do and was looking forward to. What stopped me? Fear, plain and simple. Fear that I would not be good, fear that I would try and not succeed, maybe even fear that I would succeed and then what? I let it consume me and became paralyzed by it. These will forever be the "Things That I Didn't Do" and they cling to me like gaping holes in my psyche.

One thing they all have in common; they all involve writing. It's the thing I love to do, but wouldn't let anyone know for a most of my adult life. The thing that I do and time stops. The thing that lifts my spirits and engages me in life.

The fortunate part is, I do not have to define myself by the things I didn't do. The story can change. Perhaps writing about the things I have failed to write about in my life... maybe that can promote some kind of healing. So, I am doing it. Here, right here, right now. And I will continue one post at a time because I won't let my life be one giant avoided test.

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