I hold these truths:
Life’s not about a single moment of great triumph, of trophies and gold stars. Life is not about getting a degree, getting a job, squirreling away money, working for the weekend, detesting Monday morning, and doing what you have to do to get by until the long, uphill march to old age ends in eventual health decline and ultimately, death. It’s often seen that way in our culture, and we’ve been domesticated by our elders to swallow these myths and toe the line, and never step out of it.
I disagree. I believe life is an accumulation of moments, of small things that make a difference. My job is to show up, fully. Life is about the trials and errors and the triumphs and joys that get me there – the blood, sweat, and tears – the small, inconsequential things I do every day. It all matters, and it’s all important.
Life’s not just about seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, either. It is about a full commitment to experience all of it, while being wide awake. It’s about going through the motions like a somnambulist (look it up) until something happens that shakes me awake, and when that moment happens, and it’s happened more than once, realizing I’m divergent, and that the status quo no longer applies.
It’s about the failures that lead to an “aha” moment, and the acceptance that it’s okay to mess up. The epiphany when I realize there’s nothing wrong with me and there never was.
It all matters in the end – every step–no matter how small, every regret, every decision, and every affliction. Even falling flat on my face is movement in a forward direction. These seemingly useless happenings add up to something. The power of uncertainty, and the gift of hindsight. The minimum wage job I had in high school. The evenings I spent socializing with coworkers I never see anymore. The trophy I won, or the accolades I received become no more and no less important than the time I came in second, or failed to finish at all. The guy I thought was “the one” who isn’t there anymore. The hours I’ve spent writing thoughts on a personal blog, wondering if anyone reads. The addiction I battle, the disease I wrestle and bargain with. Contemplation about elaborate future plans that never coalesce. All those lonely nights spent reading novels, news columns, comic strips and fashion magazines and questioning my principles on life, sex, religion and whether or not I am good enough. All of this has strengthened me. All of this has led me to every success I’ve ever had. All of this has created who I am today.
They are chapters in a well-worn, beautifully bound book. They are stories. At any time, I can choose a new adventure, go a new direction, and transform into a new character who tells a new story. This is the power of showing up, being fully present, and accepting all of it as neither good, nor bad, but what is.
You can write your own story. All you have to do is recognize it and accept it…and show up ready to do the work.
“Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you cannot find
Reaching for somewhere in the distance, so close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin! No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in. No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten”–Unwritten, Natasha Beddingfield