If it's not a "HELL YES!" it's a "Why Not?"

The Muse Letter No. 67

At the end of this month I will live in my fourth flat in Edinburgh. In three hours my partner will show up at my house with a friend to help me move the big stuff. I came to Edinburgh two and a half years ago with a suitcase. Now I am surrounded by a large wooden shelf and several bags and boxes. The dining table I bought at the beginning of this year will be sold again. The wall that I accidentally ruined with brown parcel tape and then tried to cover up with a coat of white paint that my dad called “there are worse walls in this world” but my landlady insisted on having professionally painted again, I will have to pay for.

These are the facts of me moving to the new place.

The results of a decision that I made a couple of weeks ago, when my partner asked me to move in with him.

“Some people are thriving with change. They think it’s exciting. I don’t understand that. I am anxious and constipated.” My friend told me a month ago, about to move to another country. And I told her how I had a huge panic attack three years ago the night before I got my dog Filou. How I was worried that “the dog” would ruin my life! How this decision that I made was utterly irresponsible and “Did I even want a dog? Like really?”

I had been talking about wanting a dog for months. Announced it to my friends. Looked at rescue dog websites. Looked at my finances. But maybe I had just been testing the idea? Maybe I had just pretended to want a dog because it seemed like a nice thing to have? Maybe I was just bored?

Instagram will tell you in many inspirational quotes that “If it’s not a Hell Yes! It’s a No!” But if you’re an over-thinker (e.g. me) with occasional intrusive negative thoughts there is no: Hell Yes! There is only: I made a list of pros and cons and after making that an agonizing a little bit more I need to trust that very quiet little voice whispering:

Why not?

And if I can live with the “Why not’s” the worst case scenarios, if I found a solution for all the disasters that I came up with in my head, if “Why not?” doesn’t feel heavy but encouraging, then I’ll do it.

Not every change is swinging a sword cutting a cord and walking away smiling. The big changes at least for me are more like a hiccup: Something’s happening beyond my control, I don’t know how to stop it, I know there’s a good reason for it, I have been partially inducing it by eating too fast or breathing weirdly or whatever and when it’s over I feel relieved.

A real leap of faith is not a: Hell Yes! It’s you standing at the edge of a decision, measuring the distance, trying to work out without being able to actually try out anything in advance, whether this leap will take you far enough to cross the abyss of the unknown. And that’s when you need to hear it coming from within, chanting ever so slowly:

Why not?

Why not?

Why not!


ONE THING TO DO

Read this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver that I read a couple of days ago and that made me feel a lot of things.

I Did Think, Let’s Go About This Slowly
by Mary Oliver

I did think, let’s go about this slowly.
This is important. This should take
some really deep thought. We should take
small thoughtful steps.

But, bless us, we didn’t.


SHOP

My book: "Things I Have Noticed - Essays on leaving / searching / finding” is a poetic memoir, about the process of finding ones own voice. 

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"I'd like the one with the non-existential dread, please."


IN CASE YOU MISSED LAST WEEK’S MUSE LETTER

A List Of Things I Look Forward To This Autumn

“Leaving the window open these days is a gamble. Hard to distinguish the cool nights from the still warm ones. A blue sky can trick you into wearing a skirt with a woolen jumper. September marks for me that passing point to Autumn. So here are the things I’m looking forward to.”

read it here


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