IN CASE you were wondering – in case you’ve ever been as lost and confused as I’ve been at times – there is a path back to yourself. How do I know? Let’s say I performed my own prodigal son experiment – I went out into the world and tried everything.
I tried to be everything other than who and what I am.
It started early. When I was about five, I heard my aunt say to my mother, “Does he still use his left hand?” I thought I was doing something wrong and I changed to using my right hand. This became a pattern. I tried to change a lot of things: from poet to rugby player; introvert to extrovert; thinker to player.
Post-midlife, the return journey is being guided by the question, What if there’s nothing wrong? Instead of trying to fix and change myself through discipline and force, I have looked instead at how I can apply what’s already there to my best advantage.
The fixing and changing approach is based on the assumption that there’s something wrong, something to be fixed and changed. What do you change it to? If I’ve learned anything, it’s that one thing is as good as the next. You see people making the most quirky things work for themselves. They’re onto something.
My choice: change nothing. Emphasise that which you are. All you have to do is overcome shame, guilt, doubt, fear. All you have to do is crawl across cut glass!