More than any other thing I’ve said in all the years of doing book tours, Q&As, Ask Me Anythings, interviews, and all the other random situations I never imagined myself being involved with, I’ve been asked to give a single piece of advice that sums up how I feel about a wide variety of topics. From love, to writing poetry, so many different people want a simple concise answer as to my fundamental philosophy on life, on thriving in it and not just surviving in it. I always say the same thing, and then I immediately feel guilty like I should be wiser, more eloquent, deeper, or some other such nonsense. I say the same thing because the same exact answer exists for it all, the umbrella policy to how I have always felt about this life we’re so lucky to live. The advice, which is again so staggeringly simple you’ll probably be mad, I will give you here, but then I’ll do something I don’t often have the time or space to do so on those book tours or in those interviews…I’ll expound. My fundamental philosophy on living the best possible life is this:
That’s it. That’s all. I think somehow, someway, over the last couple decades, we’ve all gotten really talented at settling. More than this, we’ve gotten even more talented at convincing ourselves we’re not. Thing is, we’re so damn collectively terrified of being alone, of that dreaded emptiness, that forsaken loneliness, that we put off the glimmer of hope for something better, for something good enough. We do this in work, we do this in love, we do this in friendships, we do this in ourselves.
Raise your hands, if you’ve ever been in a relationship you knew, absolutely knew, that was not the right one for you. That you were not being treated how you knew, despite your self-conscious protesting, that you deserved to be treated, that you were sacrificing your own wants, needs, desires, hobbies, dreams, to accommodate someone else because you were just too afraid to step into that terrifying darkness we call the future, alone? How many times have you been in a job that you dreaded going to each day because of a million different reasons? Work is hard because I know we all have bills to pay, people to support, and we live in a country that is rather shit at actually taking care of its people, but it’s also the same thing. There ARE better jobs out there, there ARE things we could be doing that make our souls sing each morning, rather than sigh in dread at the prospect of another hour doing that same soul-sucking job that we want so desperately to change.
Ah, the honeytrap of settling. This belief in the sweet comfort of “the same,” whilst the “new” feels so daunting, so threatening, looming on the horizon of “I know, I should.” We are warmed by the fires of our comfort, and we humans are, if nothing else, creatures of that comfort. We feel this false sense of serenity and call it enough, and my friends, the moment we say “enough,” is the moment that magic does what magic will, disappears in a poof of smoke into some forgotten place unreachable by human hands.
Here’s what I am here to say today, and you can take it or leave it depending on how you’re feeling when you find it:
There is no such thing as enough.
That’s the foundation of my philosophy that I discussed earlier, the root and the stem, the core and the skin, of what I believe. I believe, there’s no such thing as too much love, too much joy, too much magic, too much adventure, too much peace. There’s no such thing as demanding to be loved as you love, assuming of course you do not settle there, too. We must give the love we want to receive, we must become it, and then when we’re there at that place of feeling completely emptied out by all the love we give, we must promise ourselves that we will not settle for anything less than being filled back up by the same amount of love from those we choose to allow in. If they do not do this for us, if they cannot for any reason, we have to have the strength to understand that there are people out there that will. For those that cannot, we can still give, but we cannot turn to them, cannot rely on them for being “enough,” as they never will be. It is ok to admit this, it is ok to refuse to accept it as your destiny.
What I propose is that we risk it. I propose that we make it a standard practice to have a little bit more self-worth, and a little bit more daring, and we become comfortable being uncomfortable. We risk the emptiness, and the promise of loneliness, because here’s the rub, you WILL be lonely from time to time if you refuse to settle. You’ll be Alone from time to time, but, and this is a glorious but, it is worth it. There is something better out there, for each of us, we’ve just gotten so good at ignoring it and convincing ourselves we’re not worthy of it, that we stop, we stagnate, and we let all the reasons, both real and imaginary, take over. We throw our hands up in defeat, and we then turn back to the warmth of routine, of familiar, of good enough. No more. The night may be dark and full of terrors, as that crazy Red Woman on Game of Thrones said a time or two hundred, but I’m here to say that there is nothing more terrifying than a life spent wallowing in the middle. Risk the emptiness for a life of magic, risk the ‘good enough’ for a life of abundance in joy, in peace, in calm, in hope.
It’s time, pick yourself up out of the honeytrap, and into the light that lives right out beyond that scary darkness. Risk it. Please. Never, ever, ever, settle.
Risk the emptiness
the promise of loneliness
for something better.