[5] 29 Lessons

Just flounder a little bit.

I do not like this lesson. I do not like it at all. The need to keep it together is woven into the very fabric of my being. Unglued is the worst. Disorganized is the worst. Confusion and uncertainty are the worst. They leave me floundering.

It still doesn't feel good to flounder, but at this point, I can at least see the benefit in it. Because here is the long and short: If I was jumping from point to point, life decision to life decision, without a misstep or a question, I wouldn't learn anything. I'd be missing out on knowledge of life and of myself and of the world, not because I knew enough already, but because I wasn't growing. To make mistakes and question one's self is to grow. To grow is to learn, though it is painful.

(When I'm floundering, I like to call it my "existential crisis." By now I've already had multiple existential crises, but the fancy label makes these little floundering moments seem much more important and necessary. In my head.) 

Typically, when I feel like I'm floundering about, I'm really in between some things. It's a moment of transition, and that feels awkward. I've moved on from one thing and another thing is coming up, but there's sort of this horrible purgatory moment journeying from the first thing to the second. And all the related decisions seem monumental and all the results seem just out of reach. It feels like your life is ending; but then when it's over and you look backwards, you realize it was all just a bridge.

Truth be told, I'm floundering a bit right now. I'm trying to avoid looking at the water rushing underneath me, washing away what I had been working toward, and see the bridge that is actually supporting my feet, moving me to what's next. I thought I was doing one thing, but I've left it behind for something else. I've just got to make it through the questions and the fear and realize that the crossing is the hard part--but then I've reached the other side. 

Even floundering, we are not just fish flopping about aimlessly on a dock stuck out at sea. What needs to be done is to keep going, to keep your feet moving--"just keep swimming!'; but it's like floundering because sometimes it does feel like barely keeping your head above it. Treading water. It's so tiring, it's so scary. It's hard to just be there, to keep a present mind when you feel your very core splitting between what you let go of and that unknown that is inevitably on it's way. But do it. Flounder. Explore all your options. 

I can pinpoint previous times of floundering, when I felt so lost in life; and in retrospect, all of those periods were great moments of change for me. They were life-defining, actually. Without a point of focus--since floundering lacks focus--I was able to instigate incredible changes in my life. Floundering is the catalyst for bigger leaps of faith, the discoveries of grand dreams, and the sweetest surprises. If you surrender to the flounder, you will be loosed of inhibitions, and you're in the perfect position to just go for it.

So here I flounder, right now, behind this computer. I've got what I've done on one hand, what I'd like to do on the other, and my heart is in the middle just trying to figure it out. I'm telling you to submit to it while I struggle to do that myself. But as I acknowledge what this is, where I am, I have started asking big questions--bigger than I would have if I had stayed behind or if I'd run across to the other side. Suddenly I see this vision uncovered that I wasn't mine before. But there it is now, right on the other side of floundering: all mine if I survive the middle. And I think I will.