Jumping the Chasm 4/1/2015

We come to crossroads in our lives where we need to decide between passion or comfort, creativity or security, as if these dualities are mutually exclusive. A fortune received years ago states, “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” (David Lloyd George). I have taken that step.

When I was in college I studied literature and writing. Watergate had just passed and the book and movie “All the President’s Men” were natural inspirations to enter the field of journalism. Back then I was pretty naïve, growing up in my protective suburban cocoon and going to school at a Lutheran college. As I seriously considered journalism, I had a reality check. Journalism was not pretty like Redford and Hoffman made it look, but very much followed the practice of “if it bleeds, it leads.” This did not sit well with my heart and soul. I compromised by writing articles for the local paper reviewing community theatre and other non-controversial events.

In those early years I had the opportunity to work for a newspaper as a paid employee. At the same time I had a job offer from an insurance company. The writing position followed my college education, but my heart doubted the value and ethics of the field. The insurance company provided a nice salary for a new graduate, along with security and health insurance. Guess which one I chose.

If there are multiple time lines in the universe, one version of me went shooting off in the direction of writing on a regular basis, having a by-line, expressing my opinion, taking me to who knows where. The other version had a cubicle, in-box and out-box and a steady paycheck. For my adult life, these two time lines criss-crossed my consciousness, presenting me with the choice of passion vs. comfort, creativity vs. security.

However, a third timeline for me has arisen from the ethers and I am embracing this new version of myself. It ignores the duality and points me towards a horizon which may very well have dragons on the other side. Not everyone will be pleased. From the headlines it seems impossible to please everyone anyway. But the other scripts of my life have been tossed aside. I have a new one in hand, incomplete, which I am writing on each day. I don’t know the ending; I barely know what will happen in the next paragraph. I am making it up as I go. Stay tuned.

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