The Garden of Cavalier Disregard and the Three-headed Giant

I have skipped – probably literally – through the last year or so, enjoying the garden of cavalier disregard for adulthood and embracing every opportunity that has come my way. I have been enjoying my job, living with my housemate, and generally living the single life, pleasing myself in what I’ve done. Coasting along has been a delightful experience and I’ve come to accept it as my norm. I’ve challenged myself, done some things that have terrified me (that’s another post entirely) and lived an unexpected dream. What’s not to like?

Then suddenly, looming large in front of me and casting a shadow over my sunny spot of blissful oblivion, the three headed giant; decisions, responsibility and fear. The three heads are able to act independently, but where there’s one, there’s invariably three.

The head of responsibility roared so loudly that I did what any self-respecting adult would do and closed my eyes, pretending I couldn’t see it.

Eventually, when the darkness of the shadows made it chillier, I stamped my feet like a toddler and explained that I didn’t want to make any big decisions any more, I’d done quite enough of that for a very long time, thank you very much, please leave me alone now.

But the three headed giant remained. The head of fear stopped me making decisions. The overwhelming responsibility stopped me in my tracks. Decisions seemed so enormous it was almost easier to live in the shadow of the giant, in indecision, a place I know well.

The giant can back you into a corner, chase you round the garden, or sometimes lay dormant in the sun so you forget it’s there. It’s the stuff of adulthood nightmares. At what age does the giant stop being terrifying?

But tackle it, you must. It doesn’t go anywhere if you don’t, merely casts a shadow over the garden you’ve loved.

I’ve come to appreciate that garden for what it has been, a fantastic experience, beautiful memories, days in the sunshine. But there’s a little door out of the garden, with a pathway beyond, it might be covered in weeds, overgrown and uneven. It might be a beautiful path surrounded by flowers. Until I get there I won’t know.

The memories will have their own beauty and form, their own joys. The garden will be different, but intriguing to explore. My garden of cavalier disregard for adulthood may simply extend.

I wonder if anyone ever feels they are a proper grown up. When does that moment come? But for now, I’m cutting footloose and fancy free, seeing what lies just behind that door…

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