Guts

No time. No energy. No money. (And every other excuse in the book.)

But they aren’t excuses. They’re resource constraints, I tell myself.

It’s assessment time. Truth time. This is a period of transition for me, as I imagine it is for many of us who are between jobs, post marriages, about to enter a new phase of parenting, or dealing with other significant life events. So I’m looking myself in the eye – really looking – to determine if I have the guts to try something new. To go for what I want. To believe.

And then I run into the wall. Those pesky issues of survival. Time, energy, money – doing double-duty as reasons and excuses.

I’ve thought much more about risk taking in recent months. It’s a very different animal at 50 than at 30; there is richness in the broader perspective and appreciation for essentials, but life is more complicated – certainly when it comes to beginning new relationships. Likewise, when it comes to earning a living.

I’ve also wondered about who I haven’t met – yet. My nest will be emptying in the next year. How will I face it? Who may enter my little world? Will I be open and welcoming? Will I have the courage to make myself vulnerable? My deal breakers may be long gone, but will that make a difference?

I think about two decades spent raising a family. The challenges and sweetness of it. I think about self-sabotage – the legacy of familial conditioning, of social convention, of fear.

Sometimes, guts is about stepping off the merry-go-round that has dizzied us for years. Sometimes, guts is about stepping back on – even if it’s far more difficult than it once was. Guts may mean turning our backs on the carnival altogether, and heading in another direction.

In any case – it’s important to see where time has landed us, to register that even if it seems we haven’t gotten where we planned to go, there are positives in each journey.

  • Do you have a taste for change?
  • How much are you willing to risk?
  • Do you have the guts to face down your demons?
  • What about the guts to invite in your angels?


© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. Funny, but after two decades of feeling I would never leave the city I’m in, I have this desperate longing to move back east. Can’t budge till my youngest is out of high school, and then there’s that small issue of convincing my husband to come with me :)…but, yes, I do have a taste for change.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Ah Pauline. I’m familiar with that “can’t budge until… ” phenomenon. And who knows, if you float a persuasive enough argument, perhaps you’ll convince the hubster.

  2. Me=Gutless. Sad to admit, but true.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      No on-the-job parent is gutless, if you ask me, Kitch. Kids? The biggest job of all, and always risky.

  3. We’re very much in transition here too — helpful questions you’ve asked here. I’m all about data, so I’m taking stock and assessing … everything. Employment is one of those things.

  4. I definitely have a bug for a change – and I’m willing to take some risk as I’m about to embark on a new job that will allow me the financial freedom to work from anywhere. Maybe I could take a year and go to Spain or Italy. I’ve always wanted to experience living abroad.

  5. To put it plainly, calculated risks are a bitch. You can justify taking them, so you feel like a wimp when they still feel daunting. Sometimes I think it’s easier just to throw caution to the wind and leave the calculation out of it.

  6. Yes – I’m so ready for change – and to that end, I’m sprucing up my 2/2, 1,900 sf house in a major city in the midwest to rent out – and planning on moving to a small flat or studio perhaps to the northeast to be closer to my daughter and her family – find a new job, new friends. I’m over 60 – and I’m not going to spend one moment being afraid. I have lost too many friends to illness in the past few years. I have too much to lose by being gutless.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Bravo, DD – and you have my admiration. It is so much harder making major changes when you’re not 30 or 40, and I’ll just stop there. And it certainly sounds like you’re making major life changes. Very exciting. Too much to lose by being gutless.

      May I borrow that and use it as a mantra?

  7. I think more than change, I love challenge. In my adult life, I’ve moved (usually provinces, often countries) every 3-5 years. I was itchy again 2 years ago, so I started a blog. That’s my challenge for the next bit. It’s bizarre: do I need a challenge to feel settled, or do I like feeling unsettled?

    Not sure. But I do know this is a great post with great questions.

    And sometimes it’s best to leap before you look.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      What a great question, Leanne. “Do I need a challenge to feel settled, or the challenge of feeling unsettled?” Food for thought…

  8. batticus says:

    Depends on the risk, collective business risk is fun and exciting when you work together with good people. Investment risk in hard working young people (former interns I worked with) to help them start a company is risky to some people but once again, betting on good people isn’t risky to me. Now, other types of risk, romance included, are entirely different for me. These risks seem tougher to get past, no real thoughts on these from me except that you have to keep putting yourself out there.

  9. Hey, DD, good for you.
    Batticus, I like what you say. My whole life I’ve laid out safety nets. It’s only very recently (I’m a boomer) I’ve taken it to heart that there is no success without failure first. What’s critical is being prepared to learn from failure. I suppose this is to say that success, like love, is a direction, not a state of the soul. (I stole that from Simone Weil. The love part anyway.)

  10. When we met, Fran accurately self-described herself as “risk taking but not thrill seeking.” We’ve shared a fair number of changes. Maybe you have to leave things behind, to go on to new things. Certainly you can’t do it all. At the moment, I’ve changed back to being a parent with a child (stepson in early 20’s) back in the house. A shared learning experience, with value added. Civil disobedience is easy in comparison. Unplanned things happen a lot…make the best of it.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Risk taking is very different from thrill seeking. How right you are, Paul. But why is it that as we mature, we give up the former along with the latter?

  11. I realized a disturbing personal trend: I tend to be braver after I am feeling buzzed by alcohol. I love what the previous commenter Paul said “risk taking but not thrill seeking.” That would be something that I wish I could be like more.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      You are not alone in your increased-bravery-by-alcohol. I think many of us are a wee bit less inhibited after a bit of brew.

  12. I’ve always feared change. Once the change happens, though, I find myself adjusting to it. I realize it is anticipating change that drives me to fear. Once it happens, I’m usually fine.

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