You take out your best formals to wear at a party and find them too tight. Dismayed, you decide to re-start a regular workout regime. You retrieve (read excavate) your walking shoes from never- never- land and dust the entire Harappan civilization off them. The steely glint in your eyes could slice Mt Everest into crisp slices. You’re ready.

As you toss and turn in bed, waiting for dawn to break, your eyes refuse to close. They are too full of dreams of you astounding people with the new, glowing and slimmer you. Then….

You remember that your cousin will be arriving for a four day visit next week. There will be too much work to do, too much running around. They made it clear that they expect to be taken out sight-seeing. It would be very hectic. You surely will not have time to exercise while they are visiting. There’s actually no point starting a routine only to have it disrupted in three days. You step back, telling yourself you’ll begin after they are gone.

Stop squirming, will you? I’ve just got started.

How many times have you stepped back in your life? How many times have you stepped back when you didn’t need to or long before you needed to? How many times have you told yourself that you weren’t ready to step forward?

My life has been a saga of step backs. If I were to compile a list of my reasons for ‘stepping back‘, they could get published as the world’s lamest reasons. Dignified people would hold their sides and roll with the most undignified guffaws so that no one would notice them looking sheepish. The book would be a runaway success and would be translated into 80 languages in the first year of publication. My great- great- great grand kids would not only know my name but will love me because they’d still be eating the royalty off that book and getting dreadfully pompous. That’s why I will never compile the reasons. But its tempting.
Leaning Back

I have stepped back when I needn’t have stepped back at all, on the contrary I should have pushed forward with all I had. I have stepped back long before I needed to. Who knew, if I hadn’t stepped back too soon, I might not have needed to step back at all. I didn’t give myself that chance though. I’ve told myself that the time wasn’t right or that I wasn’t ready. I never once let myself admit that I stepped back because I was being unreasonable and just plain scared.

Unreasonable because I was demanding guarantees of the universe before I would take a step forward. Somewhat like demanding that I would find all the traffic lights green along my route before I set out on my journey. That is unreasonable, right?

Human beings have amazing protection mechanisms. We can develop entire colonies of blind spots to prevent us from seeing our own fatheaded-ness. We stumble blindly on, thinking we are being clever while life waits patiently round the corner with a hefty club. God meanwhile, as is His wont, rolls on the floor bellowing with laughter. For the life of me I don’t know what amuses Him so much!

Life has no guarantees. All of Facebook screams this message at us- from memes, status updates, videos and photos. I might have added my own voice to the general cacophony too. I an not saying I did, or did not. I may have. Not that it matters.

I have accepted the adage- logically. I am yet to accept it emotionally, all the way into my soul. Since it has not been accepted emotionally, it has not yet become a part of my inner compass. I still, therefore, plead to the universe to give me guarantees. I still clamor for predictability in an unpredictable world. I continue to set myself up for disappointments and heartbreak. I persist in sentencing myself to the dungeons simply because the universe will not guarantee that the sun will shine forever. I imagine myself a martyr as I clip my wings because life doesn’t assure me that I wont fall and break my neck when I try to soar.

Apollo stood on a high cliff.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“It’s too high,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We’ll fall,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

And they did.

And he pushed them. And they flew.

~ Unknown

God, when will I learn to get the hell out of my own way?!.