So I Play the Numbers Game…

It is like driving through the fog at night. All you can see is the light emanating from your headlights. Yet these beams barely stretch out a few feet, only illuminating what is immediately in front of us. And, no matter where you look, even the faintest objects have a haze surrounding them.

Sounds a little bit like life, wouldn’t you say?

We can only predict what will happen in the near future. Nobody knows for sure what is waiting for us down the road amidst the darkened fog. Something can dart out in front of the car at any moment, causing us to change direction forever. But, whether we put the brakes on or not, the road must eventually come to an end.

So, if this road is life, then how should we proceed? Should we follow the strict lines of the pavement? Should we change lanes without signaling? Should we risk getting lost on the winding streets?

To live life is truly the greatest gift we can give ourselves. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all,” according to Oscar Wilde.

Without vision, without dreams, without love, we are merely empty souls, just cruising the highway of life. To live is to treat every day as if it may be our last.

Do not speed up, do not slow down. Forget what speed you are traveling at and take things as they come.  Do not fear the occasional speeding ticket or parking violation – there are going to be a few minor setbacks here and there, but one person’s judgment of your journey should not discourage you from following your own path.

And if you find the need to stop once in a while, feel free. Pull over to the side of the road or visit the nearest gas station. Take in the view, grab a candy bar, refuel – there is nothing wrong with refocusing your vision.

Then, when you are ready to take off once again, set your own pace and your own destination. There is no taxi driver in the front seat – you are the navigator of your own life. So throw the map out the window and unplug your GPS – just because there are already plenty of predetermined paths to follow does not mean you can’t create a new one of your own.

But most of all, do not hesitate to honk your horn. Don’t let someone block your way. Feel free to make a little noise.

Life shouldn’t be about sitting in traffic, waiting for the crowd to move just the slightest bit. It’s all about squeezing into the breakdown lane and sneaking off the nearest exit. Don’t just wait for the opportunity, seize it. Maybe the back roads are exactly where your true passion lies.

No It Won’t All Go The Way It Should…

When it came to making a decision, Robert Frost took the road less traveled. Unable to follow both paths, Frost chose the one he felt to be most promising.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Yet one has to wonder why there must only be one path to follow. Why can’t we wander down one path for a while and then suddenly decide it may be best to head back?

It seems as if we always have to make concrete decisions, ones that do not allow us to change our minds. We set high standards and goals for ourselves, leaving us feeling obligated to achieve something even if we lose the desire. Others see us as cowards or someone who easily gives up if we do not follow through.

But what if we were to travel down that lovely, green, hardly-tread path to find that it is simply not what we had imagined? Why shouldn’t we be able to shrug our shoulders, take one last look around and then head in the direction from whence we came knowing that we are going back to familiarity with newly acquired knowledge we never would’ve gained had we never taken the chance?

We are constantly urged to try new things, yet we are forced to cling to one straight path. However, in a world that is so strictly oriented toward climbing to the top, we must not hesitate to veer off in search of what we truly desire.

If there is a babbling brook a few feet to your right, do not spend your life walking beside it. Take a few moments away from the trail you are on and splash some cool water on your face. Refreshing yourself may be what refreshes your soul, exposing an entirely new path no one ever even imagined.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear

There is a flash and suddenly a giant boom as the clouds roll.  Windows shake from the vibration and lights flicker, threatening a power outage.  A child runs to their parents in the middle of the night, woken up and scared of the storm outside, their imagination running wild as the sounds persist in the dark of their bedroom.

However, there is no immediate danger.  This imaginary evil only exists in the child’s mind, though the fear holds strong nonetheless.  Whether what we perceive is truth or fantasy, its power can alter how we proceed in life.

While children are simply frightened by the potential monster under their bed, or a possible boogeyman in the closet, adults are as easily as scared by the unknown.

For many, the future is full of fear.  When we are younger, the future seems bright, full of new words that help us express ourselves and swing sets that allow us to soar to new heights.  But with age, we become tight-lipped and afraid of falling, fearing the actual essence that makes life worth living.  We fear risks and decision-making and change.  Remaining stagnant feels less threatening than taking a step forward even though moving may only result in a stumble or fall, while inactivity will slowly crush the soul.

To be scared stiff is to miss what could be.  There will always be the chance that things will go wrong and you will have to start over.  But there is an even greater chance that things will turn out wonderfully.  Most of the qualms we have about the future stem from our own minds, starting off as worries and manifesting into paralyzing ‘what if’ scenarios.

But most of all, we often do not make that move forward because we are afraid what we want may actually come true.  If we stop ourselves preemptively, we will always keep the dream alive, for having a dream to aspire to sometimes means more than trying and failing.  However, if one never tries, one will never learn that they could very well obtain exactly what their heart desires.

Yet nothing is wasted.  Every effort, every challenge is a chance to learn more about yourself and the world around you.  Only fear can blind you from the beauty and possibility that surround you.  And though it may sound cliché and a tad cheesy, one line from the Hilary Duff movie A Cinderella Story says it all: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Train of Thought

Note: I hate writing in the first person, usually.  Making it all about me seems so selfish.  But trust me, it serves a purpose (I think), so I shall make an exception.

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time traveling.  Not around the world, or even the country, but this one rather short route that links the two places where my heart lies.  I’ve begun to frequent the train station so often that I know the hefty gentleman who takes my ticket is a Yankees fan, and I believe the women at Dunkin’ Donuts are catching on to my love for cranberry juice.

And whether it’s the man sitting next to me on the train, with his incessant clapping and Darth Vader noises, or the woman in the terminal arguing with herself, it’s amazing to think that, for some reason, we all crossed paths at that moment.  Even though we were not friends, nor acquaintances, we all still ended up heading in the same direction at the same time.  For a little while – a mere second in the grand scheme of things – we were all on the same path, moving toward something.

Stand in any public space and take the time to imagine: At that very second, whatever is going on in your life has brought you to the same place as those around you.  You may never talk to any of them, but then again, perhaps a new best friend is milling around the crowd and any moment, you will meet each other.

Life comes together in odd ways.  The people you saw from afar today could be the ones you spend your free time with tomorrow.  The person seated behind you may one day be the person who promises to always stand by you.

Some of those you encounter will be fleeting passersby, others will remain forever.  But no matter what, we must keep those we hold dear close to our heart.  Though our paths may diverge from time to time, there will always be those few people that mean more than a polite smile, those who mean enough to make the trip.  Home is where the heart is, even if the pieces are scattered to the ends of the earth, a little part residing with each of our loved ones.  And despite all obstacles, it is up to us to make sure each fragment doesn’t skip one beat.

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Pardon us.  We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog update for a special post.  It seems everyone could use a little boost.  So read, enjoy, get happy!

You don’t need a singing family in a multi-colored bus to tell you to be happy.  David Cassidy may think he loves you, but you’ve got better reasons to smile.  You’ve got the chance to fight for what you want, do what you love and succeed!  And no matter what the obstacle, hindsight will prove time and time again that you’ve made it this far.  Stopping now would just be ludicrous!

They say nothing in life worth having comes easy.  While ‘they’ never get the credit they truly deserve, they certainly make a valid point.  If that thing you are searching so hard for came too easy, you’d never appreciate what you have once you find it.

So in the meantime, while everyone is telling you to be patient, that “things happen for a reason” and that “all will come in due time”, you keep pushing on, working harder than ever, all the while wanting to crawl in a hole until that something finds you.  But every moment you spend in that hole makes it that much harder to ever dig yourself out.

When it comes to life, we have to take things one step at a time.  Annoying clichés aside, things really do happen when they are meant to happen.  And though patience may not be your strong suit, good things come to those who wait, unless you wait idly by for these things to literally come to you on their own.

You must go out and seek what it is that you wish to find.  If you cannot find it immediately, then the search simply isn’t over.  All we can do is continue to work hard, expecting nothing more from ourselves than our best and loyalty to what we love.

When we are babies, we come into this world solely dependent on others.  We must learn to crawl, to stand, to steady ourselves, and to walk.  We must build ourselves a foundation, teach ourselves how to stand on our own two feet, and only from there can we begin to take those first, small baby steps.  We hold our parents’ hand for support and occasionally fall down, but eventually we learn to walk right out the door and into that bright future the “real-world” has promised since birth.

Perhaps baby steps are exactly what it will take to get you to your destination.  Perhaps it may seem like you are endlessly putting one foot in front of the other, only to end up nowhere.  But someday, sooner or later, you will get where you’re going.

Or maybe you’re already there.

You have exactly what you need to succeed at this very moment.  You have your confidence, you have talent, you have support and you have love.  So c’mon, get happy!  The bus is waiting.  Hop on and enjoy the ride of your life.  You never know where you’ll end up and that’s the beauty of it all.

Interlude

And so concludes the “Something Old, Something New…” series!  I really hope all who read this have enjoyed my work as I get back into the swing of writing this column again.  And if there is ever another long pause between posts again, I apologize in advance.  Unfortunately, the real world has left me scrambling to find someone who will pay me to write instead of allowing me to give my blog the attention it deserves.  I only hope that one day I can take my writing and share it with a much larger audience.

Until then, I would like to thank all my loyal readers who encouraging me to keep writing.  Thanks for taking the time to “stop & smell the roses” along with me.    

More to come!

love, anna.

Something Blue…

Melancholy and nostalgia: hence why it qualifies as ‘blue’.

No matter how wonderful or terrible a book may be, reaching the last page always brings with it a touch of sadness.  Like a fading relationship, or a turning point in one’s life, we are sad to see things come to an end.  Even if we are ready to start anew, leaving the past behind can bring a sense of melancholy to anyone.

But what we fail to realize is that, whether painful or heartwarming, we carry our memories with us forever.  Nothing ever truly ends as long as it lives on inside us.

It is hard to move forward when the grip of the past holds you in place, leaving you stagnant and depressed.  And with your head constantly over your shoulder, admiring what once was, you miss all the joy and wonder that lies ahead.  Of course, no one said it was easy.  There will be peaks and valleys in your climb ahead, but the view is what you make it.

We all have the power, no matter what the obstacle, to make our future the bright one our parents always told us about, even at the most difficult and trying times of our lives.  Sometimes the only way to achieve our dreams is to go to extremes; go out on a limb.  Maybe that limb will snap and you’ll come crashing back to the ground, only to have to climb back up again.  And maybe – just maybe – that branch won’t snap.  Maybe it will provide the support you need to reach your goals.

There’s a time to hold on, and there’s a time to let go.  There’s a time to fight for what you’ve got, and there’s a time to move on.  There’s a time to treasure what you had in the past, and there’s a time to look ahead to what the future may hold.

Like the lyrics from a Billy Joel song, “The good ol’ days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”  So look ahead and enjoy what tomorrow has to bring, learn from the past and carry the fond memories with you on every journey you embark upon.  And even when challenges and hopelessness block your way, “keeping the faith” you have in yourself will surely pull you through.

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