Monday Musings: To Live Is The Rarest Thing

I love a good memoir. There’s something so reassuring about reading people’s personal stories of realizing their lives are not what they want, making a huge change, struggling and coming out on the other side. It’s almost therapeutic. If they can completely change the course of their life when things get bad, why couldn’t I?

Shortly after reading Eat Pray Love, I went to Naples and raced over to the pizzeria where Julia Roberts ate that whole pizza by herself. I figured it was part of the experience, part of the journey to the fulfilling life I so desperately wanted (plus, I rarely turn down an excuse to eat pizza).

These memoirs of self-awareness and living a fulfilling life reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

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I truly believe life is too short to just go through the motions but more often than not, change is terrifying and so reading about people who go through the difficult times and come out the other side with better, happier lives is inspiring.

You know what people never talk about though? The middle part. The hard part. The part that’s always whipped past in stories of change.

Few people discuss the fear, uncertainty, anxiety of putting yourself out there in the world, the self-doubt and the absolute terrifying feeling that maybe the path you’re on won’t lead you to a happier life.

It’s so easy to get caught up in people’s successes, we don’t realize that all that middle part that no one talks about is experienced by almost everyone. You make that leap to change your life but adrenaline only keeps you going for so long. We expect a 2 minute montage of the bad times and then we’re there, taking the first exciting steps towards the rest of our happy lives.

In reality, change takes time. It could take a few months,  a year or maybe even a few years. Some people claim the first step is the hardest, admitting that your life is not making you happy and taking that step towards change. I, however, think there are two equally hard times: the first step and the middle, the waiting, trying new things when it’s so easy to give up, get depressed, become overwhelmed and fight everyday for your inner resilience. As difficult as it is taking the plunge to aim for a better life, it can be even harder to remain positive during the hard times and keep yourself from accepting that as your fate.

So this is my rallying call for those of you brave enough to reinvent your lives in a way that makes you happy. Remove your mentality from what the media tells you great life adventures should be like and persevere. Yes, it may be hard. Yes, it may take a while. Yes, you may feel like you want to give up but I believe that if you’re strong enough to take that first step, you’ll be able to keep taking steps through the good and bad, only to come out stronger and with that life you want, full of Julia Roberts’Napoli pizza.

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First photo from here.

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