Courage

Courage
the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.
strength in the face of pain or grief.

One of the most noble traits we collectively aspire to have in society, I challenge you to view it in a slightly different perspective.

It is something that grows. With every step we take out pof our comfort zone it stretches. We exercise it like a muscle. But unlike muscle we rarely see it grow and the way that it changes our lives unless examined regularly. Why? I think partly because of we mistake it for other things. Purely down to confidence or stupidity (or at least I do) but rarely do we look back at our own actions and say ” I was courageous.” In order to grow more I think it is important to recognise courage within ourselves.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

One of my favourite quotes- It is continuing on despite anxiety/nervousness/depression/ that makes us strong and courageous. Yet despite this view, in society we still don’t admit that we are scared and that some failure/rejection/disappointment  is inevitable. Our society seems to focus on avoiding all that to spare yourself the pain and trouble. We need to stop doing that. Protecting ourselves because we are afraid to the point where we rarely leave our comfort zone and so we rarely grow. To the point where we wonder why no one wants to indulge in our pity party with us and longingly admire those who seem so effortlessly courageous.

Courage takes guts. And sometimes it’s easiest to forget all complications and put it in black and white. This is what I want to do but am afraid. So I will do it.

Society has us view courage as this elusive esoteric thing that only the noble among us will ever posses whilst contrastingly presenting it as something a handful of ordinary people can have. No one can make you courageous. The level of personal awareness that it takes makes me think courage is one of the most hardest yet fulfilling traits to continually pursue.

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.

-Aristotle

I agree. Our lives are full of so much change and daily pain, frustration and strife that it takes a little courage to get up each morning and brave that world. We all have the seeds of that daily courage. The Christian idea of ‘taking up your cross’ and trying every day because it is not futile but you will be reward. We should view courage more as mini battles rather than one great act of kindness.

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.”

-Mary Angelou

This quote is very sharp in capturing the idea that noble virtues are things that grow and change with us. So when we look at others’ courage in admiration we shouldn’t doubt our own because you cannot compare your beginning with someone else’s middle. Everyone has the potential within themselves to be courageous; we just need to find, unlock and grow it. We can and should be inspired to be as courageous but do so in our own way; have that inspiration change us in lots of small ways that will amount to changing a big part of you.

It is important to recognise courage in others so we are inspired and reassured that nobility exists amongst ordinary people. But more importantly appreciate it in ourselves in hope that it will drive us to be the most we can be.

 

 

Sentimental Dreams

Sentimental: expressive of tender emotions and feelings, such as love, pity, or nostalgia.

I’ve always understood this word to mean a person who values memories more than most and so does many things to capture and keep them. To remember all experiences, good and bad, in as much detail as possible to capture. I am a sentimental person.

Up until recently, this has been inexplicitly linked with my fear of letting go and forgetting. In a way it’s been about being able to easily transport myself to another happier time-a form of escapism? I don’t know.

But it hit me hard in an unusual way that time is constantly moving forward. And we never go back.

It hit me hard that people are quite temporary in our lives and only the ones who were really meant to be there will fight to remain.  That life won’t remain as sweet and fruitful as it is now in our abundance of youthful vigour, energy and focus. That every experience should be remembered and valued but at the same time we move on with the flow of time and relationships in our lives.

In realising how short life is, I was suddenly shocked into realising that the things that mattered to us the most now like people’s approval and perfect grades and the right outfit really don’t matter much in the big picture. I’ve been branded with the recurring image of me at the last months of my life looking back. When I am 90 I want to look back and not wish that I’d done more with my life because I did everything I wanted to do without regret or fear. I don’t want to hold back. I want to live a life where I showed my friends my appreciation and gratitude whilst they were alive so that when they die I can cry in celebration of their life and not regret. To be able to smile at all my blunders and give wisdom from a place of experience. To not be bitter, sour or envious of anyone’s youth or life because I lived mine to the fullest.

We are trailed into living this sensible acceptable life when in actuality (unless you believe wholeheartedly in a religion that teaches otherwise) it can become a constraint on ourselves to the point where we suddenly wake up 40 and wonder where the years have gone and what happened to your teenage dreams. What is the point in living a “pure” and adequate life if you do not do so happily? If you believe there is a God that will weigh your life and actions which is why you continue to refrain from, may I ask these questions? Would a God of absolute love appreciate your authentic happiness or shallow purity? Is it better to live a little off the mark of a good person and have joy or follow the straight and narrow only just satisfied? If there was no God or a judgement day, how would your life differ? What if God was not anything as how humans perceive him and was okay with however you lived your life? Compare the type of life you would live with the one you are living/planning to live. We are not all able to live the life set up in the Holy Books and dying trying to doesn’t appeal to much to me anymore especially in the wake of these questions.

I understand that the advice given is to prevent heartache and devastating permanent consequences on life. I understand that following the essence of this article could easily lead to a really fruitless, pleasure-seeking dangerous life-style. But our pursuit of happiness must be balanced with self-control, a bit of reason and foresight. Obviously, we must consider the need to be practical and realistic with life. Half of living your dream is working towards it. Like I said, we need tools and the knowledge to use them. But don’t let yourself be dragged into using them to build someone else’s dream. Life is about finding a balance between self-control and indulgence that leads to continual fulfilling joy.

I think there is an actual reason why we dream the most as kids. Not only does society allow our imagination to run wild, but it can literally set us up for life. Don’t you ever feel so happy when you’re doing something completely childish and spontaneous in a way that parallels a happy childhood memory? Using the tools we gain in adulthood we are meant to (for the most part) combine them with our childhood dreams and make a life so full of joy and rich with experience that it is literally like being a child only better. Our infantile daydreams can serve a purpose; to pull us like a magnet through a bleak world of uncertainty and sorrow towards something very pure and beautiful.  This is the way to live forever; let your soul be young and free.

With this in my mind I said to myself, to hell with other people’s disapproving looks and snickers of snobbish disbelief. To hell with being called eccentric, outlandish, foolish, childish and naïve. To hell with the friends who are too scared to be crazy with you. We have one life and I am determined to lift my head high and live it. 

You only live once after all.

 

BFFL-The Empty Promise

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

-Robert Frost

Something hit me today-something poignant and so real that it almost hurts. Nothing lasts forever; People come and go. More specifically close friends and family.

I don’t meant this in a generic way. I’m talking about those people in your life who you automatically assume will be there tomorrow, next year and in 10 years because you love them so much and couldn’t imagine a future without them.

We are born alone into this world and no matter what we will leave it alone. Our path as human beings really is individual which pricks me because I am a people-person. I love meeting new people and continuing old friendships. But nothing I ever do will change the fact that people who I have so much history (great memories and a deep emotional connection) with will become strangers and we’ll never make new memories or continue that relationship.

 

Up until now, I’ve clung on to a naïve hope that my closest friends now will be there in my future; that we will fulfil our dreams of travelling and living together and raising kids at the same time. But it isn’t true and that makes me feel so sad and angry at the same time.

I’m sad because I realise that these hopes without plans are just childish dreams. For me they get my hopes up and if there’s no point I feel as if I no longer want to take part in them. I’m sad because it seems like I’m the only one who realises it or cares. I’m sad because I feel like I’m the only one who really wanted to live these dream out and was willing to defy societal and cultural expectations to be happy with these people.

But I’m not going to circle the globe for someone who wouldn’t do the same for me.

So it makes me angry when I feel like I’m the only one fighting for friendships and a future together. I don’t want to try anymore. I’m angry that people are so willing to toss whatever relationship we had away. I don’t want to be the most important thing in peoples’ lives but I had the naïve belief that maybe we’re not all just talk and maybe we would do it. I’m angry because I love so damn hard and I’m so scared to let go.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

-Albert Einstein

Like riding a bike, it can be challenging and scary but a fun, beautiful adventure all the same.

The truth is other people don’t value things like you do. Other people are not as sentimental or as people-orientated as you are. In many cases people will walk right out of your life never looking back once at the friendship you thought was for life. I’ve been so scared of this my whole life because it’s been done over and over.

Obviously, we need to believe that the people who are really meant to be here in our present will but it doesn’t always work like that.  I guess the best thing is to live in the moment and make the most beautiful memories. But don’t get too caught up with the details because chances are they don’t even care as much. Then when time comes, don’t make empty promises. Say your good-byes and move on looking for the next beautiful adventure. Then you’ll hopefully be able to look back with fondness

Sigh.

I realise that this is kind of my curse to bear in my life.

Nothing lasts forever.