Anyway. I was reading a section on the apparently modest and responsible aspirations of young English people. Apparently, a high - very high - percentage of English youth express their aspirations for the future in terms of financial stability, family, steady employment. Whilst these are evidently all good, valid aspirations, the author suggests they are also indicative of a pervasive anxiety, a fear of the future that prevents the more exciting or outlandish ambitions you might expect to see in people in their late teens and early twenties.
I definitely behaved in a way dictated by fear, and anxiety, in my 20s. Not that I aspired to stability, particularly - I didn't. I longed for adventures. But I was scared, shy, embarrassed. I held myself back with my own assumptions. I was bald and must be unlovable. I was rubbish in social situations - noone would want to spend time with me. Everyone wants to be a writer, don't they? How presumptuous. Don't even bother trying. I lived a hemmed in life entirely of my own making, with the growing conviction that somewhere along the line I had fucked up, big time. I want to be very clear here - this is nothing to do with the CFO, or our relationship. He would have supported me had I wanted to become a contortionist in a Romanian travelling circus, as long as it made me happy. Probably.
Starting this blog two years ago was a first shaky step towards trying to live with a little more daring. Some spark of - what? Survival instinct? Bravery? Desperation? Finally kicked in and I wrote about being bored, bald, bulimic, in Belgium. About being lost and lonely. I did in writing what I could never do in person - exposed my weakness and insecurity and mad, defective, weirdnesses. Was vulnerable. And when I look at everything it has brought me - extraordinary friendships, adventures, the joy of people who 'get' you, and make life better, brighter, funnier - I partly want to kick myself in the shins for leaving it so long, and I'm partly massively grateful that I did it at all. It confirmed for me definitively that a bit of daring can pay off in huge, unexpected ways.
So, things are better. I do more, talk more, see more people. I don't regret a single one of my minor acts of bravery over the last two years (I had a little think about that as I typed it. Hmm. No, I stand by that statement. However peculiar the consequences, I don't regret the actions that brought me to them). Even so, there are other, massive failings of courage that I need to remedy and I barely know where, or how, to start. More generally, I still think of myself as being hidebound by my own fears. I wish I could just pick up the phone, start a conversation, reach out in the way people have reached out to me. These are the people I admire - the brave ones; people with a bit of daring. They enhance your life.
I might never get that far. I will probably always be a bit cowardly and dither on the sidelines, admiring, a little regretful. But every tiny step is better than none at all.