“Leap, and the net will appear.”
– John Burroughs
You ever read a quote that really sticks to you? That helps you make big decisions in your life? This quote is that for me.
I remember the first time I read it was on Tumblr. I was finishing up University and anxiously debating whether or not I should move to China for three months. It was the middle of winter and bone cold outside. I was sitting at my desk in my tiny little room with my heated blanket on my stomach and felt incredibly relieved after reading it. “Jump and the net will appear.” Hmm, I thought, is it possible things could work out? I decided to take my dog out for a walk in the field behind my house. I put on my warmest jacket, gloves, three sweaters, 15 pairs of socks, a face mask and walked outside*. The air was so cold it felt as if my lungs froze, it took my breath away. The dry snow crunched as I walked and I thought about how much I hated winter in Ottawa. It depleted me of any energy, it just made me miserable. I realised that the only thing stopping me from leaving Ottawa was me. I knew that I had a hit a wall in terms of my own personal growth. I wasn’t being challenged, I wasn’t learning more about myself and I wasn’t happy. I loved certain parts of Ottawa (and always will) but I knew in my heart it was time to move on. I was just terrified at the thought of leaving the life I spent so many years building behind. I was afraid everything would fail; that my friends, my boyfriend, my animals would all forget about me and I’d come back to Ottawa like a withered, dried up fish, flopping around helplessly.
That didn’t happen. But neither did anything I think was going to happen, actually happen. As a highly anxious person I tend to imagine the worst-best-medium case scenarios to every situation. I think about every possible ending there could be; if I do ‘A’ then either ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ will happen. But what’s interesting is that life is almost never predictable and thus much of my worry is a total waste of time. Often times I expect three different outcomes and the result is neither and I just stand there scratching my head thinking ‘well….I wasn’t expecting this…? How did I not think of this?’
The point of my spiel is that if you are contemplating a risk in your life, there is probably an underlying, subconscious reason for it. It’s probably your body’s way of telling you it is not happy and you need to do something. In just the same way you suddenly feel like having vegetables when you’ve been consuming a bit too much fast-food.
Just go for it, metaphorically jump and that net will catch you. I guarantee it will be completely different than you’d expected. Not always necessarily better, but different. And sometimes that’s all we really need.
*that might be a slight exaggeration on the socks.