On the horizon

“Do the next right thing” – Alcoholics Anonymous

It starts off as an idea, a feeling, really.

Just on the outskirts of your consciousness, it flickers and fades. There are moments when you think you can make out the shape, or perhaps the color, and then just as you reach out it vaporizes into nothingness. You’re crazy, you think. You don’t even know what it is, you remind yourself. And just like that it’s gone again and the world is buzzing by as if it was never there to begin with.

That’s how it begins.

There’s no telling when it begins to grow legs. It no longer flits about in random corners of your mind, but infests itself into a permanent home just beyond reach. It’s there. You know it’s there now. But you can’t begin to understand why – or what exactly it is. It’s just as shapeless and shifting as before, only its existence is confirmed now as you struggle to identify what exactly is keeping you up at night.

All you know is that it’s calling you. It’s important. Even vital, maybe.

But then you start to sense something else. Something mixed in with the gravitational pull. Something that feels a lot like fear – although you have no idea what in the hell you have to be afraid of.

Of course, your fear can only keep the shapes at bay for so long. Denial and contentment eventually give way and all your left with is the simple reality that there’s something you’re supposed to do.

And it isn’t going to be easy.

And it might not even be fun.

And the fear, you realize, was real. Because doing something means sacrificing something else.

And you wonder if you can. You wonder if you’ll fail and have sacrificed for nothing. You wonder at all the possible outcomes and remind yourself that you’re not even sure of the necessary steps. The whole thing is probably stupid. And difficult. And laden with the potential for disappointment.

And yet, here you are.

The fog has cleared just enough for you to see the very next step. The path ahead is still blurred and threatening. The familiarity behind you, and actually around you still, looms somehow more menacingly than the unknown future. It is more frightening to give up what you know, what you’ve built, then it is to venture into the mist.

And yet, still. Here you are.

Unable to deny the certainty of the next right thing. Or the cowardice that holds you back.

You can never discover new oceans, until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Senior Quote, Class of 1998

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  1. Hilly says:

    Okay, I totally agree with the sentiment and have been there too many times to count.

    I would, however, like to bestow upon you the 2008 Snackie Cryptic Medal of Honor.

  2. Mr Lady says:

    You know, I don’t know much of your story, but I’m going to take a big guess that I know exactly, EXACTLY, what you mean. And I hope you take the step.

  3. Yes, but it’s hard to leave shore when you suffer severe seasickness. I know from what I speak.

  4. Sandi says:

    Are you in my head??? Seriously?? I so think these same things.

  5. Aunt Robin says:

    Umm…Bon Voyage. I think?

  6. avitable says:

    Ha! Hilly, when I read this post earlier, I told her that she managed to “out-cryptic Hilly!”

    On a serious note, I wish I did understand what you were talking about here, but I really don’t. I usually make decisions that are the safe ones, and that suits me just fine.

  7. SciFi Dad says:

    Without trying to diminish this post, my first thought was, “Holy crap. Britt graduated HIGHSCHOOL in 1998? I am really old then, because I graduated university that year.”

    I hope that you find the courage to make the choice you seem to want so badly, or that you learn to live with the decision to not make it.

  8. Miss Britt says:

    This is not about getting a divorce. Apparently that confused some people

    Hilly: the details were supposed to be important. It’s about the sentiment – about the fear mixed with knowing what you HAVE to do.

    It’s honestly just about writing and the things I won’t be able to do if I’m going to make the time to finally write. For me.

    Mr Lady: now I’m curious to know what you thought it was…

    always home and uncool: dude, they have drugs for that!

    Sandi: last I checked, no. I’m not in your head. :-)

    Aunt Robin: hahahahah – post FAIL!

    avitable: yes, I know. I’m aware of what suits you.

    This isn’t about you.

    SciFi Dad: oh pshaw, that makes you like 4 years older than me, right?

  9. Lisa says:

    I have to make a gigantic life change(s) due to job loss. And all my decisions involve 7 kids. And blah blah blah…But you hit this one straight on, I am more scared of losing the shore than the mist.I could go on about this, but won’t. I just wanted to thank you for painting such a clear picture for me today.

  10. Dawn says:

    I’m too tired to figure it out, nor do I think I could even if I tried, so I’ll just give you all I’ve got:


  11. Willie G says:

    Oooo this must be the new contest you were talking about. You write random words and we guess what you mean.

    What the heck are you talking about???????

    Love ya!!

  12. Finn says:

    Yep, I gotta do this too.

    Leap and the net will appear. It always seems to.

  13. Miss Britt says:

    Lisa: thank you God for getting it. Damn. I thought I was losing my mind! LOL

    Dawn: I thought this was a common feeling – but it must not be. The next step for me isn’t anything that would sound dramatic to anyone else, I’m sure. But it’s the feeling I get when you reach that crossroads in your life.

    In reading the comments and talking to some people, I realize that this isn’t a universal emotion. Which is so strange to me.

    Willie G: LOL Apparently – although that wasn’t my intention at all.

    In THIS case – it’s about me making the commitment to finally write a book. That means, realistically, making a lot of sacrifices in order to get that done.

    That’s not dramatic or interesting to anyone else, lol, I realize.

    This post though?

    It could have been written when I moved to Florida. When I changed jobs. When I changed my diet.

    It’s about the thought process that some of us go to when we are aware of being at a certain kind of crossroads.

    Finn: of course you do. *sigh of relief* of course.

  14. NYCWD says:

    Because doing something means sacrificing something else.

    This is so true… but then the question always becomes “What can I sacrifice?

    I was told an interesting story from an agent friend of mine about Mario Puzo. When he was writing The Godfather, he had to do so in his kitchen with his wife and 5 kids running around him. After The Godfather was a commercial success, he built an in home office for writing.

    After six months of unsuccessfully trying to write the screenplay for The Godfather II in that office, he returned to the kitchen madness and had it done in a week.

    The lesson I personally took away from that is sacrifice what you don’t NEED. In Puzo‘s case, it was the luxury of silence.

  15. Dawn says:

    I agree with you — it is likely a universal emotion. I wonder, though, if because I’ve gone through so many peaks and valleys on the rollercoaster of life that I’ve become distanced from the “thinking” part of it. I mean, I’m totally Miss Emotional — too much so, in fact — but maybe the thought process is blurred. I have the emotions (ten-fold), but don’t think about them or what they mean. Know what I mean?

    Either way, I’m still too tired.

  16. Miss Britt says:

    Dawg:In my case it’s blogging. I think.

    Because yes – that’s the question. When it’s a choice that you make consciously, you have to come to terms with your priorities. You have to be willing to admit them to yourself. And act upon them – or live with the fact that you know you’re full of shit.

    Sometimes being self aware sucks. :-)

    Dawn: yes – better said. The thought process is very clear to me. I forget that not everyone is so self analytical. I watch my thoughts more closely than most people.

  17. B.E. Earl says:

    Before I read the comments I was gonna guess boob job, which you clearly don’t need. Clearly.

    But the book thing sounds like a great idea. I started one a little ways back but I had an inspiration block. I had the time, I just wasn’t happy with the way it was proceeding.

    Best of luck!

  18. NYCWD says:

    You might expect a Oh noesss!!! from me… but I understand a little too well what you mean about priorities… and where blogging itself fits into it.


    Oh noesss!!!

  19. Faiqa says:

    Ok, I was going to be all, “OMG, good for you, I can’t wait to read your book!!” Until, I read your exchange with Dawg. ::Glare::

    No, I’ kidding. You’re absolutely right, priorities determine results.

    I’m just telling you, though, if your blogging gets lesser priority, I’m going to expect an e-mail from you*daily.*

    Wow. I didn’t think I was going to be this conflicted about this. ;-)

  20. ali says:

    oooh. cryptic Miss Britt. even though i have no idea what you are talking about, i totally feel like i’ve been there…i’m resistant to change, but sometimes i’ve just got to take the plunge to do what i want/need to do…

  21. I have this feeling everyday only for me it’s in my daily life decisions. Like – I really need to shave my legs so I guess I won’t eat dinner so that I can hurry up and get all of the “omg mama is home” stuff done and still have time to shave before I put the baby to bed.

    But, strangely enough, today, in a round about way, I wrote about sacrificing things that you enjoy as a means to get what you really, really want.

  22. Miss Britt says:

    B.E. Earl: I’ve been there too! And that’s when it’s really, really easy to listen to all my other bullshit excuses and walk away. LOL

    NYCWD: it’s not the writing HERE that sucks the time so much – it’s the participating elsewhere that will be the first to go. And that makes me sad. :-(

    Faiqa: I’ll still be here. Just not near as much everywhere else.

    ali: no one would believe this, but I’m resistant to change too. No. Really. I AM!

  23. Dammit – I didn’t finish my comment. ::sigh::

    Good luck on this adventure.


  24. Miss Britt says:

    Sheila: we make sacrifices and prioritize every day. That’s true.

    Sometimes it requires a bigger commitment – or something.

  25. Yes, that’s it. Exactly. How. I Feel. Not about blogging or writing, but about the next big change I need to make. I am procrastinating because I don’t know if I can, or even if I want to, blend my present and future lives. This one is a doozy and I’m so conflicted that I’m letting the fear hold me back. Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one that feels this way at times.

  26. Sybil Law says:

    It’s a lot easier to leap when you have a hand to hold. Seems like you’ve got a lot of extra hands willing and encouraging you, too.
    You’ll be fine. Better than fine, even.
    I think you already know that, too.
    Jump! :)

  27. twinkie says:

    WOW! Beautifully written! I could picture myself reading this as the beginning of a great self awareness chic lit. Great job!

  28. DeannaBanana says:

    Oh, I’m sorry, I only read cryptic, untelling posts and find enjoyment. Could you be anymore obvious and transparent? Gawd…how typical and predictable! ;-)

  29. Kori says:

    For me (and I haven’t read any of the comments so as to not feel like a failure when I get it wrong) this is more about making ANY big decision or change-could be about taking a drink, moving to a new house, getting married. I just think that there is a little beam of light leading the way, and we have to step toward it. Even if that next little step is all we see.

  30. twinkie says:

    OK I also hadn’t read the other comments when I posted this morning because I was busy. Now my post seems dumb because HELLOOOO you WERE talking about a book. But this post is not necessarily in said book. Therefore my comment seems out of place.

  31. Tori says:

    reading this made my heart swell and my stomach hurt, and that speaks volumes to me…

    I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you.

  32. Ashley says:

    Good luck on your book! I’m trying my hand at writing a novel, and I totally love your post. I absolutely love that it could fit so many different *crossroad* scenarios so perfectly…

  33. you, my dear friend, might just have written about what my mom called stepping off a cliff at midnight.

    please don’t hesitate to do what you want or have to do. if we truly love you, and i do, then we’ll support you even if it means a sacrifice on our end as well.

  34. Miss Britt says:

    floating princess: if it helps, I find that sometimes it helps to face the fear. Identify it more clearly. Say it out loud, so to speak. Sometimes when I do that I realize that what I’m afraid of isn’t near as bad as I imagined it to be.

    Sybil Law: thanks sweetie.

    twinkie: reeeeaaaallllly?

    DeannaBanana: :-P little snot. LOL

    Kori: exactly. EXACTLY. I’ve felt this way before.

    twinkie: it doesn’t seem dumb at all. It seems kind of.. perfect. Actually. And wouldn’t it be cool if this DID end up as the introduction for a book someday now?!?!

    Tori: ah. Yes. I know that conflict. LOL

    Ashley: novels, I’ve found, are hard. Heh. Good for you and good luck!

    hello haha narf: that first line made my heart stop. And maybe made me tear up a little.

    Thanks, Beck. I love you.

  35. whall says:

    I’ll put here what I put on another comment somewhere…

    Passion can be defined as the will and desire to sacrifice what you want NOW for that which you want MORE.

    And what I want MORE is more queso. and I want it NOW. I’d say I’m pretty passionate about that.

  36. Yeah, that? Is me. So many things I think I’d love to do — be good at doing — but its ME that stops me.

    Well said.

  37. Poppy says:


    You led off with an AA quote and didn’t expect me to think you were befriending Bill or going for someone else?

  38. [...] on Avitable, Miss Britt has also written about her struggles with depression. She writes about taking risks and conquering [...]

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