Decisiveness is not a quality I was blessed with. I have the hardest time making any kind of important decision and many times in my life I have taken the less challenging road and traded potential adventure for assured security. It might not be the most exciting way to live, but then maybe I’m not the most exciting person to know. I’ve watched those around me leap into situations that scare the bejesus out of me .. and soar, and I have wondered at my utter inability to leap right out after them. Much to the bemusement, and no doubt often frustration of those who know me, I’m just not made that way.
Rarely has this disability been more apparent than over the last few months. After being presented with the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time in my 38 years, I was quite literally sick with fear. My immediate reaction was a resounding “no way .. I can’t do this. I can’t. I just can’t.”, which was met with much astonishment from everyone I told. Obviously, this did not help me at all, rather it served to make me feel like an even bigger chicken shit.
To most people the chance to travel to far-flung places and experience amazing things is a wonderful opportunity, not their own personal version of Hell made reality. Still, the “encouragement” I received wasn’t really all that helpful and the process undertaken to get to that chair in the travel agent’s office was so great a challenge to my poor, terrified being that it almost resulted in a genuine rift between me and my oldest friend .. whose wedding is the reason for even contemplating the trip in the first place. That’s not an exaggeration either. There was a point where I was weighing up whether or not I could live with losing a friend because the excrutiating weight of the choice in front of me, and all the associated hurdles, was just too much for me to bear. That is a truly sad thing.
Ultimately, it wasn’t the lure of medieval villages in the south of France, or side trips to the Colosseum or the Grand Canal in Venice that forced me to jump. It wasn’t the wine or the cheese or even the massive draw of a Radiohead concert in this amazing place. No, as with most things that govern my sad little existence .. it was fear, only this time it was fear of letting people down. The bride .. my son, who desperately wants to eat pizza in Rome .. and I suppose even myself. I am not excited. Well, that isn’t true; I oscillate between excitement, terror and indifference. There’s probably something terribly wrong with me, but let’s face it .. that is not really any kind of revelation. I’ve sort of always suspected as much.