"You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, great things will come of it".
I went to my daughter's house Sunday night as they were throwing a simple birthday party for Seth who was turning one. Big birthday. I knew my ex and his mother would be there so I went with a slight bit of trepidation. I had not spoken much with her since our split nearly 6 years ago. She had let me know way back then how she felt about me and it was not good. From time to time I have seen her since....baby showers, birthdays, etc, but mostly just a "hello" and usually what followed in my head was..."did she say 'hi' back"? These times are never comfortable as I like to be in good graces with everyone. So I went to the party and the first people I saw when I walked through the door were my ex and his mother sitting in the reading room off to the side. I said hello to both of them, purposefully mentioning their names, and continued on into the kitchen where the girls seemed to be hanging out. Safe. Soon after, we were scooping up bowls of soup accompanied with salad and crusty bread and I saw my ex carefully help his 85 year old mother sit back into her chair with her plate and bowl. The girls all seemed to congregate into the dining room and the boys headed back into the living room where a ballgame was on. And then there was Ann....sitting in the reading room alone. And here it was that the quote from the movie came back to me..."20 seconds". So, I gathered a little courage (20 seconds worth!) and sat on the floor next to her chair. "How are you Ann....." and so began a long lengthy conversation. A conversation that said "let bygones be bygones" even though no such words were spoken. It was like old times and I found myself so very thankful for the conversation and the sense that she and I were now "ok". As she was buttoning up her coat to leave I told her that I made her fabulous apple cake recipe for Christmas dinner. Family standing close by who ate the Christmas cake chimed in on how good it was and I could see her beaming. I was glad for the 20 seconds of courage....something very good did come of it.
And then last night, I met up with the same friend I had gone to the movie with at the Rio Grill for a bite. The Rio is a friendly place where you will always see someone you know and I personally feel very comfortable there because at one time it was my workplace. I arrived first, sat at the bar since that was the only available seating, ordered a glass of wine and chatted a bit with someone I knew until Betsy arrived. We had a fun, lively conversation and I told her how that quote from the movie has stayed with me. And now, looking at the year ahead I want to put that one into practice more. At one point Betsy mentioned that the man on the other side of me who I could not see because I was facing her, was quite cute. I turned and eventually brought him into our conversation. He was a visitor from Canada, staying in Carmel and asking of places to see and what to do. When he and Betsy got on a subject that brought the two together, I saw it as my out and said I needed to get going. I got my coat, gave Betsy a hug and whispered in her ear....."20 seconds". She later texted me saying she took the leap and gave him her number. Whether anything comes of it, it doesn't matter....what matters is the leap, the courage, the risk.
I don't know what 2012 has in store for me but standing at the beginning of it I will say that I am feeling brave. I feel like I have crawled out of a dark hole to a beautiful new world and I am feeling whole and alive again. I might not always feel so brave, but I think that a lot of "20 seconds of insane courage" might just be the way to go ..... and who knows? Great things really might just come of it. Yes, I believe it will be so.