“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