Life Doesn’t Play Out As Scripted

I walked resignedly down the hallway away from the closed door.

I stopped in my tracks.

The unresolved was with me, another presence hanging in the empty space.

I stood for a moment listening to my heart beat and my breath coming in and out. Most of all, I listened to my thoughts as they circled upon each other. It was a cycle I know all too well. Some inner voice finally whispered, “basta.” Enough.

Door Detail“Wouldn’t you rather know?”

Yes… but… I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the “what if”s. I’m afraid to be the one to put myself out there. I’m afraid it will end badly.

“Yes. Yes. But wouldn’t you rather know?!”

I sighed deeply.

I drew deep on my courage and turned on my heel. I walked up to the door with a hand poised to knock.


The results of our actions are always unknown. Life isn’t math. As much as we try to make it fit into that little logical box, we humans are complex little creatures.

We might think we are really good at predicting what will happen but how often are we completely wrong? We try to insulate ourselves from the challenge of discovery by drawing on our own past histories, patterns, and other’s reviews (oh hello TripAdvisor and Yelp).

The simple fact is though that despite all our rumination about what could be, we don’t know what is round the next bend, how that conversation will go, or the results of our actions. Until we actually find out.

How many times have you planned for how an interaction will go — playing the drama over and over in your head?

Green DoorsI do it all the time. My head is imaginative. I’m a planner by nature and I construct these wild plays of he will say, then I will say, then she will do, then this will occur… all in my little brain.

Now, how many times has life stayed to your script?

How often do events unfold differently then you could have ever anticipated?

I’m guessing the majority.

At least the do for me.

Just recently, I was completely psyching myself out about going to the police station here in Firenze because I had lost my visa paperwork somewhere in Munich during all of that drama. I felt stupid for doing it and the idea of going to confess and set it to rights caused many a sleepless night. Adrenaline pumping as I walked up to the door, I had visions of stern faces glaring at me and berating me in Italian.

I was completely wrong. The two officers were nothing but kind and understanding. I had a wonderful conversation with one of them about New York and travel. I managed my mischief and was again reminded that we just never know until we do know.

From the other side, I am almost glad for the chance to have that conversation and crazy story of visiting a police station in Italy.


There have been plenty of times events have been uncomfortable, disappointing, not turned out so well and/or I have fallen flat on my face. Yet it is almost never when I expect — mentally prepare for — the worst that the worst happens. And it is all learning.

If we stay in our heads then we will feel boxed in.

Our imaginations are amazing but not as incredibly creative, varied and surprising as the real world.

If we challenge ourselves to accept leaping into the unknown — realizing that life is always unknown –we get to experience so much more of the wonderful.

I would have never chosen to have my tooth knocked out in Munich but the results — the authentic experiences I’ve had — have been utterly worth it.

Back to the Hallway

So I breathed deep and faced down that closed door. I tasted the fear in my mouth as I raised my hand and knocked. Too late to change my mind, all my concentration focused on just being from one moment to the next.

I just had to know.

Open Blue DoorThe door opened with surprise. I took further leaps in the next few minutes. I was out of my head and completely in real, actual, messy, surprising, wonderful life.

Somehow I found the daring, will, courage to find out.

In the next hours, the interaction fulfilled every expectation in that it completely didn’t go according to any plan I could have conceived.

The script was trashed. All I could do was be IN the moment and see how it truly was and went into to the next.

I shared feelings of surprise, rejection, love, encouragement, consolation, vulnerability, amusement, sadness, disappointment, guilt, consternation, confusion… but most of all a deep and abiding kinship. It was challengingly incredible.

When we dare enough to find out, what we really find is that which we most seek: connection. 

As I again walked down that hallway, I again stopped. I took a deep breath. I smiled. The cheer from my little inner voice was quiet but clearly heard for it was no longer competing with all the other dramatists in my brain.

I knew. I know.

I walked forward into the night.

Finishing and Beginning

Every accomplishment is a beginning.

We challenge. We learn. We grow. We achieve. We move forward.

The small can build upon themselves. The cold shower, trying a new restaurant, going somewhere alone, sending that email, traveling to a new location, showing the world your broken face, challenging yourself to finish or even announcing a new project you believe in but have no idea if it will succeed… they all make for the next step forward.

I wish I could say it got easier but experiencing the new — expressing our vulnerabilities — is always a battle against our instincts of self-protection. Those gremlins are strong bastards.

I do know that as much as my self doubts, and blockages want to convince me otherwise when I’m facing those closed doors and unknown situations, in my experience taking the leap and putting myself out there in good has always, always worked out for the best.

What are you putting off? What needs to be said that you haven’t? What do you want to do today that you have been afraid of doing?

Do it. Now.

For me? I finished my abs challenge on Monday. I am stronger, leaner and feel better than ever.

Arno Side-Plank

I am down a solid 12 pounds from the start, not including waterish weight, and got to a solid 4pack. I think I am just shy of the 6 — not the results I really wanted but I didn’t even know if I could get there. I am incredibly pleased with my physical results and with what it has done for me mentally and emotionally.

For my next challenge, I am writing a small guide of my plan, diet, exercise routine, experiences and resources to be published by the 10th of January.

I’m giving it away to anyone that donates to my Pencils of Promise campaign before the end of the year. Hey! That’s a LINK!

Spread some holiday cheer and get the guide.

I never thought I would be Vega*n Challenge Fitness Nerdette living in Italy… but thankfully life doesn’t go according to our plans.

Sempre Avanti,

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