As a child you look at the adult world and try to make sense of it all. You see many ‘normal’ people and take in all the advice from grown ups around you putting together a sense of what the greater world is and should be. It’s quite simple. People go to school, follow the laws of their countries, get jobs, make money, spend that money on survival and good times, procreate and die. When something unusual happens, your parents give you some unsatisfactory explanation about that one individual ‘falling off the wagon’ or ‘having troubles’. This doesn’t mesh with simple idea of adulthood you have in your mind at this young age.
As we become adults, we are thrust into battle with all sorts of challenges we never knew as children. Most are coated in something called responsibility… a concept rarely important or at the front of your mind as a child. You are forced to choose between friends, choose between long term success and shorter term happiness. Sometimes none of the options in front of you look appealing at all. Over the years you do what you can. You see your peers surpass you. Others suffer. You learn to be introspective. You start reading books that help you understand yourself and your fellow man. You are acutely aware of your own ups and downs. You realize some unexpected moments can bring you undeserved joy while others deliver crushing blows out of nowhere. You have good days and very bad days. You realize the ‘normal’ life you assumed adults had as a child is just an averaging out of all these peaks and troughs. There are actually quite few normal days in any one particular life. And if you break it down even more, there are very few normal hours, or minutes. We humans seem to always be in motion. We have expectations that are either exceeded or not met. A phone call brings us news that changes our plans. We are endlessly adding to our to do lists. We schedule something, cross it out, and schedule something else. One by one the TV fairytales of our youth are seen as just that, a fairy tale. Chance plays such a great role in our lives that we’d probably all go insane if we were honest about it. It’s much easier to pretend we are always in control. If we’re lucky, we will come to understand the only control we have is how to deal with a situation that is out of our control. We need to build up the mental strength to handle situations that land in our laps. This is a skill we wish we had spent countless hours sharpening in our youth instead of biology, algebra or learning about the dinosaurs. But here we are… as adults going through ups and downs every few minutes.
Here we are happily pretending that every other human you see on the street is equal to you but knowing that not a single person alive knows exactly who you are. We take the small miracles side by side with the unjust slaps. We try to surround ourselves as best we can with emotional support, love, and comfort. But deep down, we really know that we are the only ones who can save ourselves. The power to soldier on lies inside of each of us. We all choose how much of our own life we pour into a task. Sometimes you feel like doing nothing; you’re waiting on the world to move first. I pray you find the courage to learn that you are the one that moves your own world and no one else can do it for you.