I used to be determined to prove that I can do everything everybody else can do. I went to university and got a degree. I’ve worked full-time, crashed more than my share of off-road motorbikes, went hiking up a mountain with dislocating joints and partied until 4 am just to prove that I could do it if I wanted to. None of these things were fun, but I did it anyway. To prove a point.
At some point, the realization dawned that I was cheating. I faked a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude to cover up the ‘just can’t’ reality. I couldn’t do what everybody else did. I got my degree on luck not work. I spent the evenings we went clubbing lying on a sofa or the floor sipping mineral water and playing with my fentanyl patch to keep it sticking. Trying to keep up just isn’t worth the horror it creates for me and so I started to graciously decline invitations.
I couldn’t keep up and rather than explaining I simply stopped participating. It never occurred to me that I had any power to change the way the world works. I didn’t think of talking to my lecturers about cutting me some slack so that I could continue my post-graduate studies. Or to ask my friends if I can join them for part of their evening rather than the 12-hour partying marathon.
Chris was watching an old episode of Joan Of Arcadia this week and there’s this scene after she smashes a friend’s art sculpture with a chair to keep him from leaving school where she says “What else could I do?” and it goes like this:
Joan: What else could I do?
Helen – Oh… say… talk to the buyer. Talk to Adam. Talk to Adam’s father. Believe it or not, I have some influence with him, too. Honey, there are lots of other things that you could do before… destroying his best work.
Will – Destruction is not a good option.
Joan – I had a failure of imagination.
Sometimes, it’s just impossible to see the options, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. It just means we may need someone else to point them out. Saying yes is an improvement over saying no. Saying ‘yes, but [insert necessary provisions] is even better.