We all need a little inspiration at times, and someone else’s success is certainly one way of getting it. A week ago or so, I went to a screening of a South African documentary about fracking, ‘Unearthed’ (which is great, by the way, and I urge everyone to watch it), directed by a young lady I went to university with. I was inspired by what she had done with her time since we left varsity, inspired by her drive and vision, and inspired by her achievement. Then, yesterday, I received news that a dear friend of mine finally achieved something she’d been working at for months, which has re-opened my eyes that things certainly are possible if you work hard enough. But, while met by these incredible inspirations, I’ve also begun looking back at my life and questioning the way I – or anyone, for that matter – lives.
For the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of living. This hasn’t been a conscious effort, but it seems that life has thrown me into different directions and I’ve had the opportunity of trying to figure out what works best. A few years ago, I was incredibly driven towards the future, trying to achieve things, working day and night, and making the most of every (work-related) opportunity. Up at six in the morning, out and about all day, and finally collapsing into bed at around midnight, I certainly was driven to achieve, and achieve I did. But, every day was a little dreary. It didn’t seem so at the time, of course, but retrospectively I didn’t really ‘live’ life at all. The entire period has become a blur in my memory, and while the achievements stand out, everyday life has been forgotten. I fought so hard, strove towards my dreams so determinedly, that I never took a moment to breathe and actually enjoy life.
And then, one day, exhausted and disheartened, I stopped. I threw away the millions of to-do lists that were commanding my life and began to live more in the present, for the present. So, I went out: tried new restaurants, played on the beach, started skating, and did all the wonderful things that I’ve spent the last little while writing about. I began to experience my city, take in the sights and sounds, and actually enjoy breakfast sitting down instead of gulping away some oats while typing or munching a sandwich while on the go. I took time out to live. While I haven’t given up working on those dreams and trying to achieve what I can, I’ve just taken a more relaxed attitude towards life so that I can actually enjoy it. And, certainly, the last little while has been more eventful, rewarding, fruitful, and much, much, much more pleasurable than any period of my life before.
I started writing this feeling a little torn between the two paths of life, between pure determination to work on one’s dreams and living in the present. But the writing itself has seemed to clear my mind. Perhaps all of life really is just an experiment. Perhaps we’re all our own lab rats, running around in our self-made mazes, trying to figure out where to go next and which route will lead us to our cheese (read: dreams). So, perhaps, the key to life is just finding a way that works for us, whether that’s fighting for our dreams at all times, being caught up in the blissfulness of the moment, or, perhaps, if we’re lucky, finding that wondrous middle ground. That’s certainly what I’m striving for.