After I camp for a few days (an activity I'm quite fond of) my hands get rough, so when I embarked my adult wilderness career a year or so back, I wore "kid" gloves for certain tasks--tent building, fire maintaining, bag hauling. They prevented my hands from becoming rough or sore and protected me from the sort of hand injury that leads to a difficult camping experience. In those early days of my journeyman world, I was of a mindset that the goal in life was to always make things easier and more comfortable.
But then my mindset changed.
One night I was chopping a tomato and I ineptly cut a finger while wearing the gloves. It wasn't all that bad of a cut, but still, it raised a question: do I keep wearing the kid gloves for protection or do I give them up because they obviously can't protect me from everything?
I never really wore my gloves all the time--I mean, what kind of weirdo walks around wearing leather work gloves everywhere they go? I also found that even if I wore them for certain, more arduous activities, my hands would inevitably become painful anyway. And as I'd just learned, if I was careless around a tomato I might cut right through the thin leather skin of my kid gloves anyway.
So I stopped wearing them. I made a choice to live a little bit dangerously. I realized that no matter how many precautions I took, there would always be uncertainty, and no matter how many layers of protection I added, pain was inevitable. It was time to embrace the unknown and the pain that might develop from camping.
Life is full of choices like this--simple actionable decisions between a perceived risk and an anticipated reward.
You choose to stay in a job you hate instead of updating your resume. You choose to order the burger and fries instead of making a fresh salad. You choose to dilly dally on Facebook instead of writing. You choose to lose touch with a friend instead of picking up the phone. You choose to watch TV instead of going on a hike.
Those are all decisions I've gotten wrong in life, but also decisions I've gotten right.
Every day we get to decide which path to take.
And who's really to say which is wrong and which is right? We're all very different and very infallible beings. Each one of us has to figure out the right path and the proper balance on our own. We each need to decide when it's right to wear the kid gloves of contentment, and when it's time to get out of our comfort zone and see what lessons that might bring.
So I didn't wear the gloves, and as a result I learned to be more cautious--when I hammered in the stakes in around my tent, I did so thoughtfully--when I handled wood by the fire, I scanned for splinters first--when I carried heavy bags, I evened the weight so I wouldn't overburden one side. Giving up the gloves added some risk, but my mind picked up the slack, and I became a smarter camper.
No one ever said life would be easy. Every day presents you with a series of choices, and each choice holds the potential for success, for failure, for a life lesson, and quite possibly for a paradigm shift.
Take off the kid gloves, act a little rebellious, and feel the freedom it yields.