When a Dove chocolate wrapper told me to “Make the first move”, I was pretty sure it wasn’t talking about my work life, convincing me rather to find that cute boy and ask him if he wanted to watch Netflix, “and maybe then we could chill.”
Modern romance aside, I’ve always thought Dove chocolate messages had some slightly significant role in my life. Maybe it’s the chocolate releasing dopamine into my bloodstream, or maybe I’m just persuaded by the silvery font winking up at me, but their messages have reassured and encouraged me in ways no fortune cookies could.
Make the first move. To most of us, this means telling your crush how you feel, or maybe waiting for the right lighting, or the right amount of wine, to find the right amount of courage to plant one on their possibly unsuspecting lips. The more I thought about Dove’s seemingly superficial message, the more it seemed relevant, personal, the right prescription to cure the troubles bothering me.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, my fellow farmers often tell me I’m not ready to go out into the field, not strong enough to carry the water all the way back up the hill, not sure-footed enough to climb down the grass strewn slope. And often, they have a point.
As I’ve written about before, it takes time to navigate the mysterious labyrinth that is a foreign culture. You regularly make mistakes you’re not aware you’ve made until someone else points them out (oops). You spend so much energy just trying to correctly buy your groceries, understand a complete conversation, and make friends with locals, that a 40 hour work week seems preposterous.
But sometimes, you can’t dip your toe into the pool to test if it’s a suitable temperature; sometimes, you just have to jump. Sometimes, you have to make the first move. Especially when you’re trying to accomplish a task others don’t really think you can, you have to show them that you can do it; telling them isn’t enough.
As I carried the water jug up the steep hillside to my home, my host Auntie couldn’t believe I was actually doing it. She has bigger, stronger, more weathered biceps than I do, but in this case, mind conquered matter. And as she told everyone what I’d done, I glowed. The amount of street cred that water jug brought me was more than enough compensation for my achy arms. Getting out there and just doing it, as Nike would encourage, feels like the smart decision in a Peace Corps life.
So make the first move! Try a new hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue, take on that work project, or find that cute boy, wait for the sunset, and tell him, sun glinting off his eyes, “You know, you’re not half bad”…