In the sticky heat of a midsummer day, when I am around six years old, I sit at the counter of a smoky bar.
Damn, you just keep getting better. Anthropologist, psychologist, wordsmith. Love the "hinge moment" word but I most especially love that you used a memory from your own life as the jumping off point.
There've been a lot of studies about how humans are not keen to give away that which they already have even if they could gain something valuable in the exchange, so your 6 year old mind made sense. So enjoy your writing and I need to keep catching up.
And I should also go out and start making some mistakes
Your insightful essay brings to mind a quote attributed to John A. Shedd: “A ship in a harbor is safe but that is not what ships are built for.” Similarly, we may be safest when we don’t act, but we were not born to live under rocks. Life is meant to be lived, and I’d rather carry regret for the adventures that didn’t work out than the remorse of staying safely at home.