Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life Lesson From a Moth in the Shower

I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the relaxing qualities of cascading warm water combined with the aromatherapy of fruity-scented shampoo and the not-quite-awake-yet state of my brain in the morning. Whatever it is, while in the midst of my morning ablutions, I often find an answer to whatever creative problem needs solving for work, or come up with ideas for assorted personal pursuits. I've even been known, on the rare occasion, to momentarily leave the shower, dripping wet, to jot down an idea before it evaporates and slides down the drain with the soap bubbles, much to Mr. RM's amusement. (He already thinks I'm a little nuts, and he's probably right.)

Yesterday, as I was absentmindedly rinsing the conditioner out of my hair, I noticed a small moth on the bathroom window. It was walking on the window pane, moving erratically around in a tiny area. I couldn't tell if it was enjoying the steam and the light mist and just angling for better coverage (it didn't seem to be particularly distressed), or if it was trying to get out through the glass.

I thought to myself, "Poor dumb bug. If it's trying to get out, it's wasting its time trying to go through the glass. Duuuuh. Too bad it doesn't realize that all it has to do is go the other way... fly out of the bathroom and down the hall to the front door or the back door, and then hang out until someone opens it. Long way around, but the only way it's ever gonna get outside."

And then it occurred to me that the moth's plight was a pretty accurate metaphor for life sometimes. We often waste a lot of time pushing and pushing to get through the glass because we can see what we want and where we want to be just on the other side of it. "It's right there!!" we say to ourselves. "Why can't I just get through this stupid glass?? It's RIGHT THERE!!!" We get so blinded by the vision of our goal that we often stubbornly keep pounding away at the same roadblock, forgetting to consider there might be a different way to get there.

Sometimes, you have to back up a few steps and reroute your path because you just can't get there from here for one reason or another. Sometimes, that window is just never going to open and give you the opportunity to fly directly to your goal. Like that moth, none of us wants to have to turn around, fly out of the bathroom and take the longer circuitous route all the way down the hall to the door that WILL eventually open and allow us to get to our destination, but sometimes that's the only way to get there. And in the end, you'll probably reach that goal faster by taking the long way around than by endlessly beating your head against the closest window or wall that refuses to budge.

"Wow," I thought to myself drowsily. "What a deep and meaningful analogy,"

And then I thought, "Right. I should really try to get more sleep."

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