taking the long way around

I’ve been catching up on TV lately, gobbling up shows I’ve been wanting to watch but haven’t for reasons too whiny to get into. One show I’ve been watching a lot is Scrubs. I have it set to record on the DVR and Comedy Central shows it like four times a day, so I’ve got a marathon waiting for me every time I get home. It’s a pretty good show all around, but the best part about it is the theme song. With the marathon watching sessions, I get to hear it a lot.

I can’t do this all on my own. I’m no superman.

Honestly, I hear that, and every single time I have this sense of relief that just completely floods me. It’s OK to not be able to do everything on your own and it’s OK to admit it. And it’s OK to be human and not perfect. I know it’s just a song and a TV show and that should be the last place I get my validation and I’m reading way too much into that one line, but there it is.

Yesterday I took a barrage of emotional sticks and stones, hurled at me, relentless. And they struck at my insecurities and vulnerabilities and fears, and I flinched and tried to find a way to protect myself but I didn’t even know if I deserved protecting.

I was being graded. And I failed.

  • Follows through and succeeds. Needs improvement.
  • Puts in the work and doesn’t quit. F.
  • Cares about others than herself. 0 points.

I was accused of taking the easy way out and of got predictions of a dismal future that I’ve always felt, deep down, would indeed be me: alone, with nothing meaningful to show for all my years of living. Am I taking the easy way out? Am I just not willing to work at anything? Will I look back all those years later and realize that I’ve decimated my own life with my selfishness and lack of commitment?

I don’t know.

Just the night before, a friend of mine was telling me that I could be taking the easy way, but instead I’m being courageous, taking the hard way — doing the right thing for the long term at the expense of short term pain.

So, who’s right? Maybe neither of them is right. Maybe I’m just stumbling along, doing the best I can. Not running away or being brave or having any kind of a plan at all. And maybe I shouldn’t be vilified. But I shouldn’t be congratulated either. I don’t know what I’m doing. Haven’t calculated any pros and cons, long term vs. short term trade-offs. I’m just trying to make it through, day to day.

I was driving the other day, listening to the Dixie Chicks sing about taking the long way around. I was thinking about how so many people just want stability and once they’ve got their career and their house and their relationship and whatever, their life is settled, and then they live it. And I can see the attractiveness in that. And I’ve had that. But I’ve given it up. I’ve changed careers. I’ve left a seemingly perfectly fine relationship. Left my home with its nicely decorated living room and substantial bookcases. I guess I’m taking the long way. As the song goes, I could have made it easier on myself.

And I don’t know if I’m gaining or losing. I just know that I’m no superman. And according to a TV show about perky doctors who get in zany situations and have heartfelt talks, that’s OK.

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