If someone had told me, two years ago, about everything that would happen in my life in the next two years, I would have listened, asked a few questions, then gone home to my studio overlooking a park in L.A. and made different choices. They would have been easier choices, or at least the unknown, with the possibility of easier choices.
Because that’s who I was. I chose easy things. Faced with two (or more) choices, I would pick the one most likely to lead to success, the one most likely to require the least effort. This was how I structured my life. Things had always been easy for me, and I wanted them to continue that way. I expected it.
This sounds awful. I know it. It was awful in a lot of ways. But it worked for a long time. I majored in something that was easy for me. I took jobs that were convenient rather than looking seriously for the best job regardless of geography. I never organized gatherings of friends, preferring to let others do the legwork so I could simply show up at the appointed place and time. Heck, I couldn’t even return phone calls.
Life realized I needed a kick in the ass, evidently. And the kidneys. And the ribs. Really, I think life went a bit overboard. But I did get the message. My work ethic needed work. My ethics ethic needed work. My patience, self-esteem, and assertiveness needed major work. They still do. I’m a work in progress. Fortunately, every other human being is in the same boat.
And now I’m making progress. I chose a challenging career. I moved away from the easy choices. I’m not guaranteed success, or recognition, or love or friendship or any of those things. If I want A’s, I need to do the work and make them happen. Skipping class because it’s cold and I don’t feel like going to school is right out. If I want to make good friends, I have to go at least half the distance and possibly more. If I am committed to growth, that means I am committed to discomfort. Which is a really bad selling proposition, when you think about it. But it is what life is all about, literally, from birth to death. It’s one long series of discomforts that make us feel more grateful for the interludes in between.
That’s why I’m glad I couldn’t see what was coming two years ago — because I certainly would have tried to avoid it. I don’t want to know what’s around the next bend, either, for the same reason. But I look at how strong I am now, compared with the weak, flickering thing of two years ago, and I wouldn’t give up that progress for an easier outcome. So I guess I have learned whatever major life lesson was on the table. On to the next one, I suppose. Right now, at this very moment, I’m having kind of a nice interlude.