Those who know me well are aware that I’ve been considering leaving the tranquil, wooded environs which sit juxtaposed to the comfortable dwelling in which my mother and I have resided for close to three years. Yes, where the meandering deer and honking geese play — in order to reduce my commute time and to gain easier access to the daily goings-on in the District that have become of even greater interest to a person like me who lives, eats and breathes the news.
However, I have continued to find reasons why it would be better for us to remain where we are, rather than going through the hassle of packing, searching, moving and learning how to get around in a new home and neighborhood. Actually, the list, under greater scrutiny, has been nothing more than a combination of excuses — weak ones at that.
I began to feel like a huge door had begun to swing back and forth, with its inevitable closing upon me. But I wanted to keep the door open, at least partially, so I’d have a few options from which I could choose. So, I delayed embarking upon the steps I knew I needed to take and fought against completing essential tasks that would help to make the transition smoother — more digestible.
As days turned to weeks and then months, situations beyond my control started to increase in volume and with such frequency that it became impossible to ignore the writing on the wall. I wanted to fight back — I wanted to find a way to reverse gravity’s power that I thought was intent on closing the door. But I couldn’t.
Then one evening, when all of the gizmos and gadgets on which I far too often rely were shut down, turned off or placed in sleep mode, it dawned on me that closed doors don’t always signal a tragic end. Sometimes, it just forces us to look in other directions — scanning the horizon and first sensing and then seeing, much to our surprise, that a nearby window has suddenly opened.
Of course, once you’ve make the commitment to move in the direction of the less unfamiliar, it helps to have a significant amount of self-confidence and undaunted faith before you sail off into the “wild blue yonder,” unsure of how, where or when you’ll finally land.
Like the song goes, “everything must change.” People learn that quite early in life. But we tend to dislike the seismic shifts that accompany real change — and we definitely don’t want to put in the hard work that’s required.
Maybe that’s why lovers no longer in love sometimes stay together anyway, why academically challenged students are reluctant to change their study habits, why hard-working adults stay at jobs that make them miserable for so long and why those who have been tenants of America’s prison industrial complex often hold on to old habits and ways of thinking that easily land them in the revolving door for inmates.
For the record, there is no guarantee that you’ll like what you discover if you go through the window or access a newly-opened door. You may not be happy. You may even wonder if you made the right move. Still, I’ve come to realize that there are always valuable lessons to learn when we find ourselves forced to let once familiar doors close.
After all, you can never get to “greatness” if you complacently hold on to and accept “adequate.”