Friday, February 3, 2012

No Instruction Manual

A couple years ago I had an epiphany. It should have been something that had occurred to me years ago but I can be slow sometimes. I realized that no one gets an instruction manual when they are born. No one has things all work out. We are all playing it by ear. I'll repeat, we are all playing it by ear. That simple phrase stopped me in my tracks. It struck me like the proverbial thunderbolt. I remember stopping on the street and gasping at the simpleness and brilliance of the idea. And this was at 33 (see told you I was slow).

Through most of my life I've felt inept at things. Other people seem so much better at navigating life then I do. I seem to struggle to do everyday things more than most other people. I've always wanted to be smooth and perfect and it always seemed like I was clumsy and inept while other people weren't. And I used to feel bad about that, until this epiphany. This simple statement that we are all playing it by ear, made me realize that I'm not alone. That no one is working through the designated plan. That no one starts life, knowing instinctively how to give a business speech, or how to paint like Van Gogh. And more importantly, no one knows where their life is going. It's being made up on a daily basis. That was stunning to me.

And it opened the door to allow me to be imperfect. I no longer had to be smooth and polished, I could be fumbling and untaught. I could learn at my own pace. I could make mistakes left and right. I'm not inept, I'm learning. Now when I beat myself up for mistakes, I remember that they are all mistakes other people have made. We all start out with the same lack of knowledge. We all start out with the same idea that we should have a direction or a plan in life. And none of us do. We are all playing it by ear. And that is liberating.


Corrine said...

What a fabulous post! I need the reminder often! :) Miss you, my friend!

Cat B said...

Thanks Corrine. I still need to remember it sometimes too.

I miss you too. It's been way too long since we got together.