“Don’t burn your bridges.”
I used to believe that. I really did. While some of my life bridges are a little rickety from lack of use, I did my best not to burn the bridges I had built. The theory is a good one and for the most part, it isn’t false. It’s great to have that bridge, just in case.
Until that just in case starts holding you back. Until that bridge becomes a barrier instead of a safety net. Until you start looking out over the place you’re headed, the place you want to be and are afraid to jump, because doing so will destroy the bridge behind you.
The reality is not all bridges can coexist in the same world. Following a certain path may destroy the opportunity to return from where you are traveling, and you are left with a decision. You can either stay where you are, safe on the path you’ve already carved out or you can jump into the rushing rapids of uncertainty and throw a stick of dynamite on that bridge as you fall.
I’m not going to lie. It’s scary jumping into that water after years of building so many bridges. Much scarier than it is when you are 20 and your only bridge is the one to your childhood. What I found though, as I started writing this blog and putting my own thoughts out there for the world to read, ignoring the “what ifs” in my brain because this path is so far removed from any path I have followed before, while the number may be fewer, there are still people running along the rocks above cheering as I paddle along.
There are still bridges left intact and people on those bridges, dangling a rope over the edge as I pass under, ready to pull me up if I start to drown. And I didn’t know they existed until I jumped in, but there are others just like me, swimming toward the same goal, looking for their next perfect place to build a bridge, helping each other out when the rapids get too rough and pushing and pulling each other along.
Making that jump is terrifying. Burning that bridge is scary.
But man am I looking forward to the next bridge.
Michelle Leigh Miller is an independently published author, freelance writer, and blogger in Southeastern Ohio. Basically, she is just writing words.