When I was a child, I used to think life would just happen, naturally, the way it was supposed to. I was oblivious of everyone having their own path to travel. I assumed we were all on the same road. Oh sure, you walk on that side, I walk on this side; some go slow and some run, but it’s the same road. As a child, that is the assumption and it is not until you grow and see for yourself that there are too many roads to count. You do not need to walk the same as your sister or your friend. You do not need to walk or run; you can skip or hop. You do not need to know where you are going, or frankly, where you have been. If I am being completely honest with myself, I look behind me and struggle to understand the path, the deviations, the mistakes and the victories. Isn’t hind sight supposed to be 20/20? Maybe not… perhaps that is another lie we tell ourselves when we are lost.
I had to figure out a way to put one foot in from of the other; to keep moving forward even if I veered off course, I kept telling myself I could and would find my way back. First, I had to find a reason to get out of bed every day. Doesn’t have to be a grand reason, but something small like the sun is up and the birds are chirping. Second, I find a reason to compose myself, and put it all together on the outside even if the inside is shot to hell. Maybe I don’t want to look like crap if I run into someone who treated me poorly or inflicted undue pain and distress on me. It’s a small and sometimes shallow reason, but at the end of the day, it is effective. When I accomplish those two steps, my momentum is going. I begin to see and sometimes feel the possibilities of what is possible. Not in the grand scheme of things, but what might be possible in that one day. One day can and will change your whole world…
The third thing I do every day before I walk out the door is pray. You may not be religious and that is ok, but prayer for me is a process where I verbalize my expectations and desired achievements for the day, and whether some religious-based elements are in place or not, there is a conscious effort to recognize what you need, what you see, and what you would like to accomplish. Sometimes we can do these things on our own and sometimes we can’t.
After all the prep, no matter how much you don’t want to, you have to step out of your front door (or side door or even a window). One foot in front of the other; one foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breath out and remember that good days are coming even if they have been absent for a while.
The tricky part comes next: making it through the day no matter how hard it may seem, and no matter how challenging people may be. They may be cruel, immature or disrespectful but you must look past those who are miserable in their own space and who only feel comfort inflicting pain on others. I think it is fair to say that we have all been there, but as we grow and mature, most of us find a way to change our own circumstances instead of hurting someone else’s. There is no peace in that and there is no honor. I cannot control anyone but myself, and at the end of the day, that is the person I need to respect.
The sixth reason I push forward is my strength; my incredible work ethic instilled by my mother at such young age. I find no comfort in giving up and going home. That is not to say that sometimes I should, but in the end, I like to think I will try until my exhaustion renders me useless. I am not like this every day because I am human, but it is a goal—a finish line if you will—when I am struggling. I’ve used it for many years when all I felt was struggle and defeat, and now I realize that life changes in unexpected ways and we turn down the road we were meant to all along.
However painful it may be, we must sometimes accept the fact that some things or some people were not meant to stay in our story—they weren’t meant to make it to the final chapter. No matter how much we wanted them to, it wasn’t their road. My favorite and seventh reason why to keep pushing forward, is knowing the possibilities are endless and that something better awaits, but if I do not open my eyes and take another step forward, I might be missing the possibilities. It’s worth finding out, isn’t it? Aren’t you a little bit curious?