Imagine that you’ve just woken up from a long sleep. You are disoriented for a moment because you didn’t know that you were sleeping. You slowly acclimate to the idea that you’re awake and find yourself in the center of a white room.
All around you there are doors, and each one opens to a different life. You instinctively know that you’ll be the same character behind each, but that behind each doorway lies a slightly different story. But you don’t know which story you’ll get until you open one. You have no way of knowing what’s behind each door until you turn the knob, take a deep breath, and step forward.
Which is terrifying because what if you choose the wrong one? What if the door slams shut behind you, and this story is what you’re stuck with? What if you hate it? What if it feels okay-good, even? What if you choose it and fall asleep again? Or what if you are simply consumed by your hunger to know what lies behind the other doors? (FOMO, anyone?)
A bubbling up in your gut tells you that you have to make a choice, that any choice is better than standing still, but because you’re no longer asleep, you now know that other doors exist. So you just stand there, hand tentatively reaching for the first knob you see, but you can’t bring yourself to turn the handle, paralyzed.
Consciousness can be a bitch.
Waking up rarely feels gentle. It’s usually violent-the result of some sort of jarring alarm clock of life, and the next phase of your journey on the planet begins with a start. And it’s exciting! You’ve successfully pushed the Google Earth button on your life, zoomed out, and can see-really see-for the first time in a long time.
And it’s terrifying! Because before, you had a few limited choices-of what to do, what to be, whom to love, and how to wear your hair-now everything is on the table, and the giant buffet of possibility is so overwhelming that you begin to wonder if you'd be better off back in bed.
You can either:
A. Close your eyes, pick a doorway, and hope for the best.
B. Make the unknown more known, pick a doorway, and hope for the best, but leave yourself enough breadcrumbs to come back to the place where you can collapse yourself into white space again, because hey…you got here before. Maybe if this door doesn’t work out, you get to choose again.
After you’ve expanded, it’s the most normal thing in the world to contract. But going back to sleep isn’t an option. Remember why you woke up in the first place.