Tipping Points

“See-saw, Margery Daw, Johnny shall have a new master….”

I have always loved see-saws. Even when I fell off the top of one and wacked my head so hard on a lump of concrete I went dizzy, with a complimentary lump on my head that lasted for days. It’s that moment when you feel your feet leave the floor and you surrender to the possibilities. Of course, with see-saws you always know that you can get the thing perfectly balanced again so that you and your friend can both climb off safely. You can take it back to the neutral tipping point, where it could go either way.

In life, there are no such guarantees. Which may explain my general reaction to life’s tipping points. I tend to freak out a little, or a lot. Because I don’t know what’s on the other side. I can’t see. I’m not sure that I will like it, or that it will be what I hope for. (Generally though, life has tendency to turn out way better than I expected.)

Sometimes I’m brave and I do it anyway, because I know I will regret the not doing it, I know that twenty years down the line I will be sitting there saying “I wonder what would have happened if I had been brave enough to do that.” But more than once, I have slipped easily into denial, pretended the tipping point isn’t there and kept my feet firmly planted on the ground. Sure, it’s not nearly as much fun, but hey, at least I know I’m safe.

Although the funny thing with such tipping points is that you have to face up to them eventually. They keep coming back around. Because they often represent patterns in our behaviour, in our choices. So if we keep choosing the safe option, we keep coming back around to the same choice, until we finally choose to do the right thing, instead of the safe thing.

And then tip! You’re suddenly in a whole new zone, and you realise that maybe, just maybe, safe is a little over-rated.


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