Life offers an endless range of opportunities for success and failure, courage and cowardice, and survival and victimization. Some experiences are carried from one juncture to the next and influence latter outcomes, but other experiences are better left behind in a corner of our memory which has no control over our tomorrow. Perhaps it is a form of survival, but I think that is too over simplified. It is neither that the “bad” or “good” moments of our life need to remembered nor forgotten, but they need not control the future. Living in the past is dangerous and lonely.
Throughout my life, I have heard over and over people referencing accomplishments from 10, 15, 20+ years prior as badges justifying their present existence. Now there are certainly exceptions, but involvement in high school athletics does not make one an athlete, especially when running late is the closest thing to cardio in one’s life. Although I appreciate the “once a Marine, always a Marine” mentality, the same does not work for football, cheerleading or homecoming court.
Allowing the highlight of one’s youth to become the highlight of one’s life is too often practiced and too seldom warranted.
The flip side is just as toxic. Tragedy is inevitable. Death is certain. Statics are real. Some face the horror in life through denial while others work to heal and move on. However, some face moments so dark that the darkness seizes all the light left within them…that is true tragedy. Becoming a lifelong victim is the worst outcome imaginable.
Two people can face nearly the same experience, whether good or bad, and come out of it so different it is mind blowing. I truly believe for most people, how they walk away from an outcome is a choice, but I accept that for others, it is a destiny. I also feel some people will place themselves into the latter category because it is easier than moving on.
I happen to be in the “choice” bracket. People ask me how I do it, and really, it is simple: I choose to. I can not fathom allowing the pain of yesterday to have control over my tomorrow, and I refuse to ride the coat tails of an accomplishment or title I no longer could earn. My resume is not who I am, but it shows the route I have taken. I am not a victim to the scars on my heart and soul, whatever their origin, but I respect their impact on the strength I have today.
I do not let the fever dreams of “what if” control the veracity in which I will pursue a situation. I will not allow the fact that pain is certain to persuade fear and doubt to change a steady course. Instead, I place those emotions which do not allow me to move forward on a shelf, but I do not lock the emotion away because to an extent, fear motivates and strengthens and humbles.
If you can love like a child after your heart has been broken with enough reserve understand not everyone deserves such love, perhaps you are on the right track. If you can work harder for the next accomplishment in life knowing that accomplishments without balance are empty, perhaps you can enjoy life. And if you can live through hell and still see the wonder and beauty in life and love, perhaps you have found the secret.