Sued51's Blog

{November 29, 2010}   Curley’s Secret of Life

No, I’m not talking about one of the Three Stooges; I’m talking about the cowboy character (played by Jack Palance) in the movie “City Slickers.”   I just recently watched this 1991 movie again.  The lead character, Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) goes on a cattle drive with his friends to find himself and the meaning of his life.  He confides in Curley about his angst while they ride along, and Curley’s response is to hold up his index finger.  It took the entire movie for Mitch to find out what that meant for him.

I bring this up because a good friend of mine who loves history recently went through a rigorous training course in order to be able to give tours of a local historic site.  She was working full-time (at what she felt was an unfulfilling day job), and yet she managed to put in sometimes up to 30 hours a week studying, reading, writing, and preparing and practicing sample tours.  In the end, she passed the required 45-minute tour “audition”, and she is now giving tours.

She told me that if she knew up front how much work it would be, she might not have taken on the challenge, but she is glad she did.  A funny thing happened during and since she completed all that intense work — she said she stopped focusing on how much her full-time job bored her; she still has the desire to read and learn even more about the subject of her tours.  She rediscovered a passion.

On the way home from dinner with her and her husband, I told my hubby that I found her experience inspiring.  He said nothing but smiled and held up his index finger like Curley.  In that moment I was struck by a realization: I have always known what that meant for me, but I was always afraid.  Afraid of the commitment and that the work would simply be exhausting, not energizing.  Before I even tried, I regretted all the things that I wouldn’t do because I was concentrating on the “one” thing.  I was deathly afraid of going down the road to failure and whether I could ever return.  I always turned around when I saw a curve or a hill in front of me and kept going back to the crossroad to try another “easier” road.

Well… I’m at the age now that there is no regret to feel because I had fun and had great experiences.  Like Warren Beatty when he finally settled down with Annette Benning, I know it is time to stop being afraid, embrace the work of commitment and really enjoy the rest of my life feeling I’m in the right place and doing the right thing.

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