Photographers love taking pictures of bugs but, with few exceptions, I don’t know anybody who enjoys having bugs in their home. I know, I know, spiders are helpful and lady bugs fascinate children, but we are talking about some major hypocrisy here. What we like to look at and what we’re willing tolerate are, when you talk about bugs, anyway, worlds apart.
I will demonstrate with this photo I took of a bumble bee doing his dance on a sunflower. He’s kind of furry, his legs are neat looking, his wings are super cool.
We don’t ever get to see bees this close up. It’s a treat. Maybe you start being fascinated by it. How is it, you might ask yourself, that I’ve lived my whole life afraid of something I’ve never truly experienced? Maybe, in this happenstance moment of seeing something familiar yet strange, you stop being afraid of getting stung and start being amazed by the variability of nature.
If you’ve ever worked at a corporation, you’ve been treated to mandatory compliance videos. “Compliance” means, in the business world, adhering to your employer’s money laundering or social media policies, to name two examples. The general rule of thumb, they finally tell you after two hours of basic legal and ethics courses, is that if you’re unsure about whether or not to do something, don’t.
Compliance makes sense in a business environment, but I don’t think it’s the best way to live a full life. Sometimes, not doing something is commonsense. For example, putting your finger in a live socket to test the voltage is a nonsensical idea. There are tools to measure that. Getting a cat when you are allergic to cats is also a bad idea, since there is very little you can do to change the fact that you are allergic to cats. There are some things we can change, though, and that’s what I’m talking about here.
We are occasionally presented with personal situations that beget actions that might seem risky or difficult, but offer us the chance to grow substantially as human beings, to take a real leap forward: moving to a city where you know no one; speaking in front of a crowd even though you have terrible stage fright; or doing something physical that seems to be beyond your capabilities, like taking up rock climbing. These things are hard. They are scary. We are unsure about whether or not to do them.
There are certain kinds of people who take those leaps, knowing they might fail, get hurt, be embarrassed, or even die. Then there are those who play it safe, never do anything scary, and never get to find out amazing things about themselves.
When you are in your twilight years, sitting on a rocking chair holding a sweet tea in one hand and a shotgun in the other, do you want to regretfully look back on all the things you wished you’d done, or would you rather fondly reminiscence about all the awesome things you did do?
We all fear the unknown. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. What I would challenge you to do, however, is try things that are outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It could be taking a sculpture class, learning a different language, or reading a book about physics. It doesn’t really matter what.
Like looking at a macro photo of a bug, you might discover something wondrous in the world or about yourself that you never knew existed. You can leap. When you do, you might even discover you can fly.