Sound Barrier

You might have sensed a theme in my last posts. Growing, letting go, moving on; these have all been themes of my twenty-fifth year of life. A lot of goodbyes, an even greater number of hard lessons, and although it’s all been pretty intense and difficult, life has never been more thrilling or empowering (I think? Silver linings, right?).

I won’t lie: there are a lot of times this year I would have wanted to give everything up, curl up in a corner and bawl my eyes out. There are a lot of times I didn’t think I’d make it through. Giving up is easy, sure, and facing difficulties is harder, but the long-terms rewards of the latter are usually worth looking forward to. Think of it all as an investment, the most important one you can make, that is: yourself. With that in my mind, it doesn’t mean I didn’t doubt or procrastinate. Sometimes I cried- not nearly as many times as the year before that (yey small victories)- and as I stare at the big 2-6, somehow I feel like I’m standing straighter and my feet are holding firmer on the ground. Doing what’s right usually does.

This year I learned not to crumble down and just keep going. Not in an unhealthy way- meaning lining up all-nighters and working myself ragged and that’s the real accomplishment- which feels new to me. There used to be a time when I felt numb, when I couldn’t feel things when they hurt, when I couldn’t get in touch with my emotions, when I was afraid of asking myself the tough questions… Except hiding never solves anything. Putting your hands over your eyes doesn’t get you anywhere. That’s when the words of fictional Secretary of State Elaine Barrish can be of help; “Most of life is hell. It’s filled with failure and loss. People disappoint you, dreams don’t work out, hearts get broken, innocent journalists die. And the best moments of life when everything comes together are few and fleeting. But you’ll never get to the next great moment if you don’t keep going. So that’s what I do. I keep going“. To move forward you have to face your fears and you have to be ready to fail. The only really abominable thing in life is not trying at all. But on those nights when you obsess over the things you cannot change: go to bed, tomorrow’s a new day. “Whatever your past has been, you have a spotless future” as Melanie Gustafson once said. Make a good use of it. Don’t look back. Keep going.

I’ve learned a mistake is a failure only in your unwillingness to learn from it. It doesn’t matter you were unsuccessful; it’s what you do after that really counts. So I get back up after I fall down. I dust my knees and I keep going. If you choose to give up then that’s the last thing you’ll have done, and the last thing anyone will remember. Quitting is not an option. Keep going.

There was a time when I would get unfocused, off-track, derailed… Times when I got discouraged and didn’t believe in myself, times when I needed others to believe in me, and never seeing in other people’s eyes what I needed, I failed to see that what they thought didn’t matter as much as my own confidence in me. I don’t need anyone else to believe in my dreams; I got myself for that. There was a time I needed others to have answers and there was a time when I would let fear get the best of me because I couldn’t acknowledge I was scared, because I’d procrastinate and sabotage myself. I used to distribute responsibility over my decisions to anyone with an opinion… I ended up aimless, with no idea of what I actually wanted.

Forget to see things as obstacles; see them as challenges. Don’t accept limitations. Keep going.

***

I’ve just moved into a new apartment and just a couple of hours ago, I was standing in my empty old apartment. I could see a movie play the last four years; it was an odd feeling, so much has changed. I thought about the friends that had helped me move in, the get-together we had on the first night. Candlelight and ipod playing out loud. They are bittersweet memories of friendships that are no longer, and may never have been, but they’re part of a past that lead me to where I am. I know hindsight usually doesn’t answer these angst-filled questions that need answering. I thought about the person I was then and the one I am now, feeling at odds and wondering if it’s possible to become an entirely new person in four years. Maybe the person I am today was always there, underneath the surface; I just needed to reveal it. Leaving felt emotional, but relieving too… As if I was leaving a part of me behind, one that I had outgrown. I left the heartbreaks there, the self-doubts, the frailty and the fantasies. I will not miss them; I have real dreams and plans waiting for me in the future. I wanted to shed that skin. Maybe wisdom isn’t about finding answers, but about relinquishing them. I’m embracing this forward motion. I’ve prepared for it. I’m in pain but it won’t last. Everything passes. There’s always something better to seek for past the horizon line. I’m ready for it; ready for that part of my life.

I guess the bigger message here is that if you feel resistance: keep going. That’s the sound barrier, right before it’s crossed. Then it’s a loud noise and you’re going on past 343 meters per second…

The truth is, you haven’t lived if you haven’t crossed a sound barrier.

Image source 1: http://twistedsifter.com/2012/06/pictures-of-airplanes-breaking-the-sound-barrier/

Image source 2: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sound_barrier_chart.svg
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