February 19, 2006

Why would I try new things when I have more than enough trouble getting by with what I've got?

Charlotte Bronte said: "Better to try all things and to find all empty, than to try nothing and leave your life a blank." Really? I'm not so sure. Let's say I want to try murdering someone. I find it empty, but then I spend the rest of my life in jail. No thanks. I'd prefer to have a blank life.

Finding it empty will be the least of my troubles.

I do try some things. Teeth-whitening strips, for instance. I presumed they would change my life. If I had white teeth, I'd be happy. People with white teeth are always smiling. But maybe they're just showing off. I'll never know because my teeth are still yellow - the strips were a waste of time and money, and I certainly don't feel better just because I tried them.

Then there was the time I tried television comedy writing. Everyone said: "Try it, try it - what have you got to lose?"' Nothing. Except self-esteem, good ideas, and four years of my life.

People love to say: "It's better to have tried and failed." But what's wrong with not trying? Not trying means you don't have to live with the bitterness and frustration of failing. Even better, not trying means that trying is always in the future - something to look forward to.
When I think about all the things I haven't tried, I'm grateful. I haven't tried crack cocaine or bungee-jumping or firing an AK-47. I haven't tried kissing in a gondola or eating a blueberry bagel.I haven't tried having the mumps, either. Living life to the fullest, for me, means not having any health problems that would prevent me from staying home and not trying.

If I can see myself trying anything new, it would be a medical procedure that allows me to continue to keep things going just the way they are. Why would I want to try new things when I'm having more than enough trouble getting by with what I've got?

If you think about it, Charlotte Bront was advocating disappointment. Now that's something I have tried. I'm an expert and, believe me, a blank life is more appealing. What is a blank life, anyway? A life without thinking.

My problem is I think too much. I even think about thinking too much. My ex-boyfriend would see me staring out the window and wonder what I was doing. I'd tell him I was thinking. Ten minutes later he'd ask the same thing, and again I'd give him the same response. He looked at me like I was a different species. "Still thinking?" That relationship didn't work out.

But it got me thinking.

Here's why trying nothing is a more preferable option. The more you have, the more you have to lose. Every time I've ever tried something new, it's led to nothing but trouble. I've learnt enough lessons from mistakes and shattered romances to last me until I'm 108. I have no room for any more lessons. I'm full. The learning curve has flatlined. Something that I haven't experienced, though, is being an optimist. But that's not going to happen, no matter how hard I try.