I don’t know why I felt like this article needed a disclaimer, but then again, I don’t know why I felt like it needed to be shared. In the past month while I’ve been abroad, I’ve been toying with some philosophies of varying levels of triteness and/or cliché. I don’t know if this article has a point, but I think that’s for you to decide.
Sometimes when I really think about it, I feel like another person here. It’s almost as if going to another country has caused me to step outside of myself, like I’m living a double life and examining the other half from 3,000 miles away. From where I am, most of my concerns back at home seem petty or pointless, but there are a select few that make my heart ache for lack of them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder; you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
It doesn’t hurt to try this. Take a step back from yourself and think about what really matters.
Once you’ve identified what you care about, wear it on your sleeve. Write letters to your best friends, even if Facebook is easier, and don’t cross anything out. Listen to songs that used to mean something to you; let the words bring you back. Lose your voice screaming for something that makes you want to raise your voice. Spend your money on whatever catches your fancy: excessive amounts of chocolate or wine, paperback books, new shoes, flowers for someone who deserves them. After all, you can’t take it with you.
Wherever you are, take the chances you have. Jump into swimming pools or off bridges into the marshes of Cape Cod. Go for a walk and explore the places around you–find something special in the ordinary. Get on a train and watch the scenery unfold before your eyes and disappear all at once. Say what’s on your mind while it still counts. Go with your gut or risk regretting it. Lay your trust in the hands of the powers that be, stifle the scared voice in your head and take the plunge. You won’t be young forever, and you may not pass this way again. Collect opportunities like fireflies in a jar, elusive and beautiful.
Question everything, but don’t abandon faith. Open your mind to the divinity of earthly things: clouds opening up to let the sun in, the music in a sincere laugh, a long-sought-after slice of pumpkin bread. Know that there are such things as angels, and they live in those who surprise you with their compassion. Believe that somewhere there is a better place, and with enough effort, heaven can be made anywhere.
Pinpoint your desires and chase them with unrelenting passion, even if you’re running after them by yourself. Make goals, no matter how ambitious, far-fetched or half-baked. Give yourself a reason to get up every morning. Make things up as you go along. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or change course. Know the difference between a realist and a cynic. Embrace solitude. Spend time alone with your thoughts. Get to know yourself. Figure out what you want out of your time here. Then go there.
Does this article have a point? Not really, but when you think about it, neither does anything else. Life is beautiful; life is precious. Go out and live it.