Barriers…..Obstacles. Same thing, right? Well, that depends….on you.
When I consider the term “barrier” I think of things that are designed to be impenetrable — jet blast barriers at the end of a runway, concrete barriers providing security around high profile buildings, flood barriers or dams to channel or block water and such. The point is, they are there for a reason and they are designed to be permanent. They guide behavior by creating a situation where the variable has no choice but to comply.
In contrast, I see obstacles as more temporary, transitory. They can be overcome. You go around, you go over or under, you go through. Obstacles still guide behavior, but with an understanding that not all behavior will be shaped, just some of it. Those who want to overcome an obstacle will, if they persevere, will find a way.
Challenges are part of life. We run into them every day. The question is — are these challenges barriers or obstacles? The answer to that question depends on many variables. But the most important of those is you — your understanding, your tenacity, your grit, your creativity, your confidence, your capabilities. The bottom line is, it’s you. You are the variable that matters most.
So how does this diatribe relate to naturism? Simple. There are few hobbies or lifestyles that encounter more challenges than naturism — societal norms, family opinions, religion, legalities, lack of self confidence, self doubt, judgements from others, lack of knowledge, not conforming with “traditional” naturism, and just plain fear. Those are just some of the more prominent challenges. A top 10 if you will, of an even greater list.
But as naturists, we viewed these challenges as obstacles. We didn’t stop. We didn’t give up or go a different direction. We persevered. Sure, maybe we went slowly. Maybe we left our naturist life for a while. Maybe it took a while to figure out how to get around an obstacle, to overcome it. Maybe we had to work up some courage to talk to our family about it. Maybe we had to do some research to find a beach or club near us. Maybe we had to do some soul searching to decide if this was for us. The list goes on and on. But the point is, it wasn’t a barrier. It was an obstacle. And as a result, we found a way to something fun, exhilarating, and enriching.
So to naturists everywhere, pat yourself in he back. You got to a good place. But that doesn’t mean the journey is over. What’s on your naturist bucket list? What obstacles are in your way? To the budding naturist or nudie curious out there I can only say this — whatever is holding you back isn’t impenetrable. Go around it, go over it, go through it. Talk to them. Take a chance. Seize the day. Go for it. It’s worth it.
I’ve written quite a bit about the obstacles I encountered in my naturist life, as well as those that still remain. What about you? What challenges do you face? Are they barriers or obstacles?