I have been contemplating Life, and whether I have used Her well. Admittedly, I may have 60 more years on this planet, but, with the first third over and done, I wonder… what do I know for sure? Even still, I have been pondering the choices I’ve made and whether my life could have been an easier one had I, say, chosen finance or healthcare as a career path. (Ok, nevermind. I’m not terribly good with spreadsheets and projections, and faint at the sight of needles.)
Perhaps the only things I know for sure are still being forged. It may be too early in my book to offer up the Diamond of my life as an example. I have had my share of stumbles and bare cupboards. In fact, I can tell you that my failures and the humbling years of eating Ramen for days on end was immeasurably unpleasant and stressful. Yet, in hindsight, what I know for sure, about life, and pursuing bliss has largely been wrought from these times. So.. what do I know for sure?
1. You must never. ever. ever. ever give up. I know it may hurt at times. I know it. I’ve been there. But, you must never ever choose what is safe over what is true. None of us ever know how much longer the dark parts of the tunnel will continue… but, for all you know, the light you seek is just around the bend.
2. You must find your Tribe and cling to them. I don’t want you to listen to the doubt-givers. I want you to listen to the tribe of dreamers – they will encourage you, strengthen you, embolden you, and give you much needed hugs. And you will do the same for them.
3. It hurts because it is IMPORTANT. And it’s important because it’s your dream. If it was something to be taken lightly, it would be called a wish, a want, a little trifle. Dreams are always emblazened with big capital letters all over your heart and mind. They may, over time, take a different shape but the crux is always there. That hurt, that angst, is what continually provokes you forward even in spite of naysayers, obstacles, Top Ramen, and the like. Don’t mistake the “sting” for anything other than a gift which reminds you to take another step even when you’re plum exhausted.
4. Believe. Believe in yourself so much that it gives you innocent, pure, courageous Faith, that wonderful blind blazing trust in the unseen that everything will be ok. It will be, usually, in the most absurd, random, quirky fashion. Somehow it will all turn out well. It reminds me a bit of the movie Shakespeare in Love:
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.
It’s a mystery, to be sure. And it can be heartbreaking, backbreaking, death defying, oh my goodness takes more strength than you ever thought you had … but you have to see it through to the end.
That I know for sure. That, and there’s not much that homemade peach cake can’t make better.