That was the river

29 May

Noticing a reminder for someone’s birthday on facebook gave me one hell of a memory… strange how the smallest thing can set you off.

This time last year I was basking in the Italian sunshine with a cool drink surrounded by great group of people after tearing my precious routine apart. I had gotten stagnant, sedate and sorry for myself. Too damn sorry for myself. After working my ass off for the best part of five years, I had gotten into a depressingly easy routine: Work, rest, play at the weekend -for one night only…


“…Time not to exceed six hours but must be more than one, drinks allowed: five grain based beverages and four small measures of whiskey, CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION: must be paralysed drunk no later than half past eleven, mitigating circumstance are allowed in the case….”

I was taking steps, but they were painfully slow to take root. I made efforts to improve; mind body and soul, but many many times I saw myself sitting back into comfort. I had to do something: I was slipping deep into a horrible mindset. I thought I was sorted for life, didn’t have to worry: just get through to retirement then I can live a little and enjoy myself. Stay as safe as possible. Stay comfortable. Stay in the bubble. Not a good attitude for a young twenty something to have, not a good one at all. Along with that, I wasn’t as nice a person as I thought I was.

Thanks to some stellar inspiration from friends, family and near strangers, I shook myself long and hard enough that eventually I did something about it. Seeing the right circumstances fall into place, I quit and went travelling to learn a new language and enjoy myself. It worked out pretty well I must say.

The thing is though, it took a long time to get to that stage. A hell of a long time. I didn’t realise during the process; I got frustrated at myself countless times, but each and every step mattered.

Little steps make the difference. The only difference worth counting. Little steps build the foundations needed for solid, consistent and fruitful progress. You need strong foundations to build a house, not just a nice roof. Sure; grand gestures are all fine and impressive, but they rarely have a lasting impact if they’re not built on the smaller steps.

It took me a hell of a long time to get myself into a position where I could make such a decision. Every small step, even when a lot of them seemed completely insignificant, made a big difference in the end. Everytime I challenged myself physically, mentally and emotionally, it contributed to the mindset and confidence I had about myself when I finally made that all important decision.

The thing is though, it’s an incredibly frightening thing to do. With so many positive representations of it in films, books and on television, the prospect of creating a decent life for yourself is almost accepted as a pretty easy thing. The reality of it is a lot different. So different, that I’m sure there are thousands, if not millions, of people around the world who know they want to do something, anything, but are paralysed by the thought of it.

Things don’t happen like in the movies. There’s no training montage, no two minute scene where a guy realises he’s an idiot and comes up with a wacky plan to get the girl back, no ‘rally round the troops everythings’ gonna be fine’ moment with friends and family that sets everything right again (if anything, that just ignores the situation). There’s none of this. There’s the long hard slog. You push yourself step by step and, without making any giant leaps, any big steps or amazing improvements, you slowly but suddenly find yourself with some damn strong foundations. After that, it’s up to you what to do with them.

For anyone out there who knows they want something but aren’t sure what it is, don’t worry. Don’t worry at all. It’ll come to you. Keep working, keep taking the small steps, keep improving and keep stoking the restless thirst for knowledge and hunger for improvement. Take you’re time, but don’t get complacent or lazy. Keep going. You’ll know when you’re ready, don’t worry. Play in the river, learn how to handle yourself and deal with things then, when the time’s right, head out into the sea.

(If I was you, I’d watch this full screen with the sound turned way up…it’s only beautiful)

The results are incredibly satisfying, believe me they are. My position at the moment might not be admirable by some people’s standards, but it’s a good one by mine. I’m happy. I know what I want, what I’m doing and how to do it. I’ve got some good foundations, and I’m never gonna stop building on them.

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4 Responses to “That was the river”

  1. Zia May 30, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    You know, I am in the same ‘limbo’ stage myself. Good to know that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel (whether it’s the Italian sunshine or a small window looking out in the alley depends on the goal, right?)

    • orionscoat May 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

      sure, although to be honest I’d say it doesn’t really matter about the goal; the light is the same. All the best:)

  2. mbwilliams June 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    I found this a very profound piece of writing. Gritty, real, no bullshit, but inspiring.

    Any kind of self-discovery is so hard. Each step is taken into the unknown, with fear tugging at our heels. Our great dreams, our ambitions can only be reached by the smallest of steps. Thank you for this, I loved it.

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