6.12 Say Yes to Life

Last week, I wrote about some experiences of engaging with the city by walking around. This week, I went for another walk, but had some very different thoughts. It was a long one, a couple of hours at least. Headed west from my place, through Liberty Village, Parkdale, along the lake, up Roncesvalles, across Dundas West and down Ossington. The first thought that troubled me was the difference between actually engaging in what’s going on around me and just being an observer. I believe there is value in both, but I wonder if it’s more about balance. When should a person engage and when should a person observe? I can’t force things to happen, I think there’s a danger in stepping into situations where I don’t belong.

Something I keep in mind is what Marc Maron said once on his WTF Podcast, which I’m paraphrasing: You can’t step in between someone when they’re having a fight with themselves. When I’m out walking for long periods, it’s a little strange - I fall deep into my own thoughts, yet at the same time am very aware of my surroundings. I try to remember that when someone or something snaps me out of mid-thought. I try to remember that when I do interact with people on the streets. We’re all just out here for different reasons and when we bump into each other, whatever the hell’s going on internally spills out and can change the energy in the air.

About halfway through the walk, I came to the conclusion that I’m more of an observer, that there’s an imbalance to how I approach situations around me. I’m not so sure this is a good thing.

I have a tendency to withdraw. From my family, friends and relationships. I’ve gone deep into this for long periods of time in the past. I don’t want to do this anymore. The second thought that troubled me was the feeling that I have been withdrawing over the past few months. It’s not my family’s fault or my friend’s fault, it’s mine. I create elaborate scenarios in my head as to why I am not worthy of their love, scenarios that if I explained to my friends or family what I was thinking, they would surely voice the outright truth of my mind’s falseness.

How to tip the scales towards more engagement? I’ve traveled extensively, jumped out of an airplane, released many creative and personal projects, stood up in front of people and told intimate and vulnerable stories, pushed myself into situations where I was forced to meet new people. It never seems to be enough.

The problem comes from a strangely good place. I’ve pushed myself more in the past year than I ever have before. I’ve put myself out there like I never have before. I’m sure, more than ever before, of the direction I’m supposed to be heading. What a problem, right? What an asshole I am to even think of this as a problem. The only thing that is stopping me is fear. But fear of what?

There’s a terrible Jim Carrey movie called Yes Man, where he enrols in a personal development program based on the idea to say yes to everything. I would not normally reference this kind of movie within the confines of this rigid blog, but what the hell, maybe there’s something to the idea.

So, along with Carrey’s character Carl, I will say yes to life. What’s the worst that can happen?