In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
…And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” - Albert Camus
It’s a beautiful hot summer Friday in Los Angeles and I am sitting here alone in an office reflecting on the mere week left between my birthday and I. I love birthdays the same way I love New Years Eve - they are both excellent excuses to celebrate and even better excuses to pause and reflect on the woman I want to become this next year.
The words that come to mind and challenge me are “Even If” - even if life hands me lemons, I will still make lemonade. Even if I fail, I will still rise up and try again. Or perhaps learn from it, adjust, and try as daringly and passionately as I did the first time.
This is not simply an idea, it’s a necessity. Because what if you fall in love and end up empty-handed? What if you do everything you can to invest in those around you but still feel lonely? What if you sacrifice 365 parties a year to work at your dream but still feel a million miles away from it at times? What if you feel on top of the world and then get unexpected news that knocks the wind out of you? You can drown in what ifs. You can get lost in the black hole of asking why everything happens the way it does.
We have to truly embrace the inescapable aspects of life in order to thrive. When we ask “what if?” and “why?” we become powerless and afraid to step fearlessly towards our future. On the other hand, if we determine who we are first we can create an unshakeable foundation that informs how we handle the world around us. Only then can we gain control over who we are. If we don’t let who we are inform our circumstances we let our circumstances change who we become.
We keep spinning on about how bad things happen to good people and never stop to wonder if sometimes good people happen to bad things. Same circumstances, different perspective. I want to be one of those people. I don’t want my character, grace, or optimism to be determined by my circumstances. I want to influence my environment instead of being influenced by it.
I think the truth is if we don’t live our lives with a standard of resilience we will lose ourselves along the way. Life is unpredictable so if who we are depends on the challenges we face we will we succumb to the chaos. We have to carry on and be strong and not forget to laugh and love along the way. C’est la vie.
Photo by Thomas Oldham