There really aren't a lot of directions you can move in life. You can move forward. You can move backwards. Or you can stand still wondering which way to go.
You don't need a compass. You don't need a map. You don't need to wait for the "fog" to "clear up" or the "stars to shine". Because at the end of the day, like it or hate it, those are your only two options in life. And I think it's critically important to always choose the right one.
I think it's critically important to always be moving forward in life.
Let me preface this by saying that I've gone in both directions. I've also stood still a hell of a lot longer than I would have liked to...
I wish, with everything inside of me, I could write this portraying myself as a 'role model' or an 'example'. But... I'm not going to lie to you, especially through writing. I've always written and spoken directly from the heart. And that's not stopping as long as I still have a heart.
So, here's what I am going to do... I'm going to tell you something.
This is for you. This is for the person that might not know what to do today. This is for the person who might not know what to do tomorrow either. This is for the person who keeps fighting and might go to sleep each night feeling like they aren't winning inside.
Well, I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. And you're probably a lot further ahead than you realize.
I'm here to tell you that if you point yourself in the right direction, everything you still want to happen can and will come true without compromising your integrity in the process. It's just up to you to decide to do it...
..And then to never look back once you've made that decision...
. . .
Here's a fun fact: It was incredibly difficult for me to write about myself in the first public book I released now nearly five months ago. Even further, it was difficult to make the committed decision to be a main character of "The Seven - Awakening" - especially when six more books are planned and on their way.
I can't even begin to express how many times I thought about changing the name of that character, Kyle Lionheart, before publishing. A simple sweep of a few key strokes would have locked my identity behind a wall.
Yet, I didn't do it. And it took me a while to get here, but today, five months later, I'm actually sort of glad I made that decision.
And that's because I know that I'm not a hero. But maybe, just maybe, I can help more and more people to become one.
What does this sharing of a past personal conflict have to do with direction? Well, honestly? Everything.
The funny thing about moving forward in life is that, if we're lucky (and in the moment it's often hard to recognize that fortune), we're pushed in that direction from the very beginning. We're told to go to school. We're told to go out and make friends. We're told to get a degree. We're told to find a good job.
...you see the pattern forming, right?
That's a hell of a lot of momentum of moving forward, at least through the most basic standards. Now, whether or not we choose to do all of those things above... is a completely separate subject. Yet, still, it can't be denied:
Moving forward in life is A LOT easier when you have a person pushing you.
But... then the word 'suddenly' happens...
. . .
What happens when the same person that was pushing you suddenly isn't there anymore? What happens when a loved one fades away or tragedy strikes and again, suddenly, the weight of everything behind you doesn't feel quite the way it used to anymore?
The simple answer is... you find a way to keep moving forward by being the one to push yourself. The reality and cold truth, however, is that we're all human. And when adversity reveals itself, it can affect even the strongest of people.
There are a few moments of my life that stand out for when I took a giant step backwards. Losing a parent is tough, but when you're 20 years old and spend six years pretending cancer isn't there, and then... it isn't there... but neither is your mom... well, I didn't know what direction to go in life. And unfortunately, for a while at least, I chose the wrong one.
I chose backwards.
What the hell is backwards in life? We can't change events. We can't change time. Yet, if I had to break it down, I'd say that backwards in life is becoming less than you were before. Backwards in life is not living up to your potential. Backwards in life is running away from fear. Backwards in life is giving up.
Backwards in life is taking steps away from the person you want to be. And believe me, as comfortable as those same steps might feel from having tread on them before... you're NEVER going to be the person you want to be looking behind you.
You have to find a way to look forward. And in the moments where it hurts the most to look forward, I hope you still do. Because you never know what can happen when sitting still in life. And above all, you never know what dreams can still come true, as cliché and corny as that may sound.
I've been playing red-light, green-light the last few years. And every now and then, something would happen that I would allow to CONTROL me. Which, is a bunch of crap if you ask me.
I shouldn't have let my first real heart break stop me from moving forward, yet there are months of my life that I did. I shouldn't have let making a mistake that so many other people have made stop me from moving forward, yet there are months of my life that I did. I shouldn't have let the fear of chasing the dream of wanting to be a writer stop me from moving forward in that direction, yet there are several YEARS that I did.
I'm not losing sleep over the above. I'm certainly not here to seeking sympathy from it either. I'm here to tell people that I'm not letting that stuff control me anymore. Nor am I going to let anything that happens today or tomorrow control me too.
. . .
Look, you might have the wind in your face right now. I don't know your story. I don't know how dark things might be or the difficulty you endure trying to get out of bed every morning. What I do know though is... if you find the courage to take even ONE tiny, miniscule step forward through adversity... then, guess what?
That still counts as moving forward.
And I can assure you - from the many scars I still wear today - and from being the "not hero" that I am - that those steps forward are ALWAYS worth it. Because once you make the decision to always be moving forward in life, everything becomes worth it.
"It's the journey, not the destination." And what's a journey if there aren't a few falls along the way? We've all messed up. We've all been there. None of us are alone.
...But don't let the falls stop you. Don't let where your life is now scare you from where you want it to be. It's okay to look back because we all hit a wall at some point or another in life.
Just make that the last time you ever look back. Because everything you want is forward. And everything you want to be is still possible.
If you want.