Our 12 year-old recently said to me, “Today is one of my daring days.” I don’t remember the context.
There was something to overcome and he overcame it. It might have been an orchestra concert to perform in or a tennis match to play. It may have been connecting with a new friend or sharing thinking in class. Regardless, “One of my daring days” stuck with me.
At 12 years-old he understands and can articulate that some days are daring and others are not. He knows that courage isn’t at the ready all time, but a character strength we have to understanding and intentionally enlist. He know’s even thought is’t not always available, that daring is accessible to him. He had access to it on that day and he recognized that access. I believe this sensibility will allow him to have increasingly more daring days, along with more automatic access to them as he grows. He seems to like the feeling. I was thrilled he mentioned it.
In mentioning it, he reminded me that while daring days are wonderful, some days are not daring days. Some days are cautious. Some days we get stuck in fear and find ourselves unable to move. He reminded me it’s ok to live some days within our comfort zones. Even to live some days regressed and motionless. Sometimes I feel like I can conquer any fear and travel any distance. Sometimes I feel locked in place. Human.
Change, while essential and inevitable, requires daring. Even positive change. Change is wonderful and exhilarating. Change is also loss. Even when we change for the better, the better replaces what was in its place. Whatever was there before the better might not have been as good, but it may have been comfortable.
“Better,” even though it’s better, can be scary. When we change for the better it often feels like we are then responsible for maintaining. Can we be expected to be our better selves indefinitely? What if we mess it up? There’s lots of pressure in change. On daring days, the motion of change, the growth that accompanies it, and even that pressure can be exciting.
Our 12 year-old knew he was having a daring day. The possibilities were boundless. After the first daring thing he decided to do more daring things. He told me it was a daring day while we were driving toward home. After he told me he mentioned he was going to write when we got home. If you’re a writer you know it can be a daring thing to do. He was teaming with ideas and enthusiasm. He enlisted the daring he found access to. He maximized its benefits while they were in front of him.
It’s ok to have days that are not daring. When we do have days that are, we should harness them. We should take action and make plans. We should specifically plan for open-hearted self love and for grace in the knowledge that we will continue experiencing many types of days, and that each one it gift; days we soar, days we doubt, days we show up, and days we hide. Each is a gift. Each has value.
We should ground ourselves in reality by being intentional about identifying our daring days, taking advantage of them, and settling in comfortably to the notion that our moods, our energy and our capacity to engage courageously in the world, both inside and around us, is subject to ebbs and flows.
It is said that happiness does not come to the person who has the best of everything but to the person who makes the best of everything. We should consider that as best be can, forgive ourselves when we can’t, and dare to keep putting one step in front of the other with every bit of strength we have in every given moment.
In it together for the kids.
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead. Thanks.