"We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to remain as we are.” - Ed Foreman
Oblivion. Emptiness. Risk.
The edge of the cliff looms in the distance and you are suddenly aware that it approaches quickly. Although you have seen the cliff waiting for some time now, it has always appeared so far away. It was an ideal set obscurely in the future: pure and undefiled in your view and yet unattainable, unreachable.
It is the dream of what could be and yet somehow you never expected to get this close. You never knew what it would be to touch it, taste it, and feel the dream almost within your grasp. But as you see the edge of the cliff approaching, you finally know what it is. It is the unknown.
Safe. Secure. Comfortable.
It's what you've been for so long in the little world you've created for yourself. You may not think of yourself as happy but at least you are not afraid. You go day to day knowing what to expect. You get up and do the same things, work the same job and live the same life that you have for some time now. You've been waiting though, waiting for the right time for things to change. You've been waiting to move forward to reach beyond yourself and the quiet bubble you have chosen to live in. You didn't expect to live here forever. In fact, you didn't expect to live here this long but now that you see the cliff approaching and your life beginning to change, you feel it.
Fear. Anxiety. Trepidation.
These are the emotions that kept you in the same place for as long as you've been there. As the cliff approaches, they grow stronger and threaten to drown you. You've stopped now, just before the edge, unwilling to move any closer. You see the emptiness, the oblivion that awaits you in the unknown and your fear paralyzes you. You are waiting now for someone to tell you that there's been a mistake. This is not for you. You are not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough to jump from this cliff. The oblivion will tear you apart. The voices telling you that you will never be enough grow louder until they cannot be ignored. You breathe in as you try to calm yourself. You can always go back and you look over your shoulder towards the comfortable bubble that you've grown so fond of but something is different. You can't go back.
Stagnant. Suffocating. Trapped.
Looking back at the safe world you begin to see it for what it was. It was a prison that you constructed with your own hands. The walls may have been built to keep out all the things that frightened you but in the end, all they did was keep you in. You know now that you've come too far to go back to that world. It would be safe but it would never be comfortable again. You would be unsatisfied to remain in that world after being so close to the cliff. You step forward, your toes touch the edge and the world you lived in fades into the background where it now belongs. You breathe in again, calming your fear but also allowing yourself to feel the other emotions that have been trapped beneath the surface.
Anticipation. Excitement. Ecstasy.
The voices may prove to be right. You may never measure up to the ideal but then again, you might. Besides, who says this is your one shot? Is this the only cliff or even the only time you may approach this cliff? Who are these voices that claim to be the guardians, holding your hopes and dreams at bay? They are everyone. They are no one. Even with all the voices yelling, telling you who and what you should be, who and what you could be and how badly you might fail or how high you might soar, the only voice that matters is yours.
In the midst of the terror before you, the stagnation behind you and the voices around you, you find peace in the certainty that if you don't step forward, you've already failed. You've failed because you refused to try, to give up the suffocating comfort and let the winds of the unknown that lie just beyond this cliff, carry you into the world of what might be possible. So instead of giving into your own uncertainty, you take the only road that is truly available to you. It is the one that has been hovering in the future, waiting for you to discover what it might hold.
Breathe. Step. Fly.