At the Edge of a Cliff…

For years I’ve followed the guidance of those I respect. People who have made success for themselves in business, in love, in life. People close to me like my remarkable mother, my gone-too-soon father, my always sensible best friend, and so many others I turn to for advice. And why not? They only have my happiness in mind. What works for them should work for me… right?

Well, here I sit. Alone, in an overpriced studio apartment. A new car in the garage, a decent paying job, a packed refrigerator, and yet… I am empty.

For those concerned that I’ll interrupt this post with my own suicide, don’t be (in retrospect, the chosen title might be misleading). In fact, what I hope to glean from this is quite the opposite. I hope to finally start living my own life. A fulfilling life, that reminds me everyday how truly blessed I am. To me… THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY. I have no idea where this road will end, but it begins here, putting “pen to paper.” I want to write, and I want to make a living doing it.

But what does that mean? Specifically? I wish I knew. Hopefully, by the end of this, I’ll want to write blogs for the rest of my life and be completely happy doing it. But I doubt it’s that simple. What I do know, is that I miss expressing myself. I miss being creative. I miss “putting myself out there” for the world to see. And I desperately miss the feeling it gives me when someone notices.

I also know that it means tough times ahead. It means leaving behind the career, the 401k, and the disposable income. It means walking up to the edge, closing my eyes, and letting go. And it terrifies me. So much so that this might be the first and last thing I ever write. Even now I hear the voices of those people pulling me away from the edge. I see my best friend dismissing my latest “wild idea” as a symptom of depression that I need to fight through. I hear my mother telling me to “just meet a nice girl” and my problems will melt away. I hear them… I hear them loud and clear.

But following those voices is what got me here, and it’s time for a change. I recently found inspiration in a movie. I know… I wish it was from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald or Hemingway, but it wasn’t. It was a very bizzare but touching movie called “The Beaver” starring Mel Gibson. In it, the main character, Walter, struggles to break out of a deep depression by talking to his beaver hand-puppet. Among all the sage advice given to Walter by the acrylic rodent, one thing he said stuck with me:

“You’ve seen too many home improvement shows. You think you can just splash up some paint and re-arrange the furniture and everything’ll be alright? You want things to change… I mean really change? You’ve got to forget about home improvement, Walter. You’ve gotta blow up the whole bloody building.”

Well here I sit in my overpriced studio apartment holding the detonator. My anxieties slowly fill the room like a toxin. Will I take that next step, only to stumble? Will I retreat to the safety of my normal life, my semi-monthly direct deposits, my HMO? Or could I succeed?

As I lean over the edge of the cliff, I wonder how far the fall is. Only one way to find out. Take a breath. Close my eyes. Let go.