Permission Granted

Early in my daughter’s senior year of high school she came home excitedly telling me about a group of friends who were planning a road trip to Disneyland after graduation. She was wondering if I would let her go. I pointed out to her that she was due to turn 18 in a couple of months, and that meant she could make her own decisions about things like road trips. If she could pay for it, she could give herself permission to go. “I can do that?” she asked, amazed. For a dozen reasons the trip did not actually happen, but I still remember that moment, seeing my daughter have a dawning realization of adulthood. That she could just give herself permission to do things and then do them.

Which is where I find myself today. I taught a class online to a group of fifteen people. It wasn’t part of a conference or other event. I just wanted to teach, so I set it up, solved the tech hurdles, announced my plan, and made it happen. Inside me there is a much younger version of me who is amazed that I just went ahead and did the thing, who has spent the last eight months asking “are you sure we can do this?” But I did do it, and people bought tickets. Then they came and asked good questions, shared interesting resources, and smiled or nodded as I taught. I gave myself permission to be an expert and people showed up and treated me like one.

I’m so glad I found the courage to make this thing happen, even though it felt scary. Even though my anxiety was a resisting force at every step. I got to teach a class today and I’m very glad it all worked. I feel energized and exhausted. I feel like I put something useful into the world and helped people along their own creative path. I feel like I made a good thing happen with only my own decision and determination. Now I’m going to go collapse and do something comfortable. Next week is soon enough to do another brave thing.

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