The First Step

“The first step has to be taken in the life in which we find ourselves.”*

I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years waiting, hoping, begging for my circumstances to change, only to be confronted again and again with the reality that the decision to move can only be taken now.

Sure, sometimes waiting is the best option. When I faced debilitating chronic pain and sleeplessness for several months, sometimes just getting through my day while showing a little bit of love and attention to my wife and daughter was the most I could expect of myself. I had to wait for my body to heal before I was capable of thinking much about changing anything in the big picture of my life.

But I am inspired—and terrified—by the reality that the decision to take the first step from here to there always has to be taken by a me who is willing to say, “I will put one foot in front of the other, right now, even though I have no guarantee that the ground ahead of me will support me.”

When I see those who seem to be twenty or thirty steps down the road towards their dreams, envy sometimes wells up within me. Sometimes I’m disappointed in 20-years-ago-me for not having already taken the risks that present-day-me is still too [busy? distracted? lacking in guidance? or just afraid?] to take.

So, apparently, I can still relate to 20-years-ago-me. Maybe it’s time not to beat that guy up, but to join together with him to take that first, tiny, halting, stumbling step towards something different. Right now. In the life in which I find myself.


* words spoken by the poet David Whyte. I’ve lost track of where he said them; but the words stayed with me.