The Pain of Not Doing

There’s a point at which the pain of not trying something you want to do becomes greater than the pain that will possibly come from doing it.

That’s how it was with me and running. And that’s how it was with me and writing. Perhaps it sounds like a negative way of looking at things, but in many ways it isn’t.

All I know is that there came a time when the burden of wanting to be able to run became too great. There was a time when the burden of wanting to write became too great.

I once cried because I couldn’t bring myself to run 800m, not because I had done it and felt pain. I once read a brilliant book with jealously because I wished I had the courage to write one myself, not because I’d written one and found it to be a difficult process. Each happening strengthened my resolve and made things clearer.

The feelings had created guilt. There were too many things I was shutting out because of an unrealistic fear of what might happen. My unhelpful way of thinking had to change.

Once that change was underway I began to say ‘yes’ to things I never believed I would do, and never believed I could do. I said ‘yes’ to opportunities, often only small things, that quite frankly terrified me.

It wasn’t as if I forgot all the things that held me back. They didn’t ‘go away over night.’ I didn’t have a dream or an ‘epiphany’. It was more like a chain of events; a rippling effect; a growing up; a few steps forward and a couple of steps back; a spell of positivity and determination followed by a lapse…And these ups and downs will undoubtedly continue.

In these past few years I’ve had more reasons to cry and yet more reasons to smile. Everything seems more extreme for me than it used to be – externally and internally. More difficult, more fun, scarier, happier, more challenging…

It’s the pain of being alive!


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