There is a common phrase that goes like this: Everything happens for a reason.
I am not a fan of that adage. It implies that we should sit passively and wait for good things to happen to us. It implies that we should relinquish our desire to work to change bad things because they’re happening for some grand reason we don’t understand. I don’t think it is wise to take such an idle approach to the only life you have. I’m more of a take-life-and-beat-it-into-a-pulp-with-a-stick-until-it-rises-to-your-expectations kind of lass.
I believe that you can make the best of everything that happens and make it fuel for a good change in your life. Some would say I am splitting hairs and really just expressing the sentiment of the proverb above. But I think it’s an important distinction.
Sometimes, you have to fight for your life. You have to work and sacrifice and bleed to get to the peak or you will be Sisyphus, forever stuck at the bottom of your hill. You can—and should—take misfortune and hurt, pull yourself up to stand high above them, and improve your life because of them. But it takes work. It doesn’t just happen.
Sometimes people say to me, “I wish I could do what you’re doing.” Most middle-class Americans I know CAN do what I’m doing but are unwilling to make the hard choices I did. I grabbed the deepest pain I have ever felt. Once it was made clear to me I could do nothing to salvage my old life, I transformed that pain into the biggest opportunity I have ever had. It took liquidating my entire life, bidding my friends and family farewell, hugging my precious dogs for what may be the last time, resigning my long-term job, facing utter solitude, and coming to live in relative austerity, but I did it. I am quite happy I did and would not change a thing about where I am right now. But that doesn’t make what I did any easier. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Being a phoenix involves walking through fire before you can come out golden.
What I did is not for everyone; please don’t take all this pontificating to mean that I think it is the only way or the right way to go about life. Not everyone is as crazy as I am. Although it was right for me, every person is different, and those who choose a different life are not ignoble or somehow less-than.
However, whatever your path, don’t sit around and wait on life to come to you. Get up and start chasing your life until you have it in your grasp.