Over time, I've come to learn about my need for a battle to fight, some issue or cause or idea with which to dedicate my time and energy and zeal. Sometimes I forget about this piece of myself and slip into the trap that is complacency, repetition and boredom. I hate these times, especially when I become aware of them, because a life lived in this manner is so antithetical to both the person I am and to the person I hope to be.
I don't mean to sound as though I have some irrationally negative view of myself. That isn't the case. I think quite highly of myself, if you really want to know. However, I think it's important to recognize the ease with which we lose focus from time to time, falling into a habit of mediocrity and complacency. I don't want to be mediocre or complacent; I want to be awesome. I want to live a life of passion and excitement and fulfillment. I want my life to be a story, one that I am excited to write and to live and to tell.
That doesn't happen overnight, unfortunately. Living a terrific story requires roadblocks, heartbreaks and moments of loneliness to go hand in hand with moments of beauty and victory. No one wants to hear the story of The Little Engine That Reached It's Destination With Ease. That story is boring. We want to hear about The Little Engine That Could, the overmatched little spark plug which achieved its goal by force of will. We want to hear about Chris Gardner overcoming homelessness to run his own firm. Tell of Gandhi and King and Biko, and people will listen. Describe the struggles you faced to win your love, the trials you faced in order to gain happiness. Those are stories worth telling.
For my story to be compelling, worth living and telling, I must embrace the roadblocks and heartbreaks. Yet I fear I fall into the same trap more often than I care to admit: if my heart's desires aren't met within my time frame, I will set them aside and chase something far easier to attain. To be fulfilled, to be satisfied, I need a battle to fight. I know this, deep within my being. But what am I doing with my life? Spending my time behind a desk, running reports, sitting through meetings. Chasing nothing, fighting for no one. And I have no one to blame for that but myself.
As I write this, I realize how lofty these ideas sound. How risky, how unsafe it seems to chase an undefinable dream. Or even a defined one. But do I live to be safe, to be comfortable, to have nice things? No. I live to be fulfilled, to be engaged, to be passionate. I live to be happy both with who I am and who I am with, to love and be loved by those around me.
Where does that take me? I do not know. I hope to know, sooner rather than later. And until that time comes, I will continue to seek out new stories, involving new characters in new places. I will continue to write and to hope and to love and to wonder. I refuse to sit back and let life pass me by, just for the sake of being comfortable.
"No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"Thanks, Don. Couldn't have said it better myself.
And so on...