The wind is heavy and the rain is pouring. You walk home after asking the air for some salvation. It betrays you and leaves you with nothing but a heavier chest.
Your breath is out of sync and you are trying so desperately to hold the tears from falling.
“How can I keep living like this?” you think to yourself.
You head back, turn the kettle on and rest against the couch with a tea in hand and Netflix on. You’re steadier now, but still that repeating question does not depart: “How can I keep living like this?”
Many times in our life, we fall into pits of darkness. Especially at times of change and when the order of events feels all too cyclical, we start to give up.
“What now?” we say, confronted by a plethora of worries and of seemingly enormous personal issues.
And when we reach this point, our actions are crucial.
The truth is that there is no immediate answer to “What now?” or “How can I keep living like this?” but there is one to “Why?”
I’m not here to tell you that life is beautiful and angelic and full of perfection because, in reality, I know those statements can just cause more pain. You know that life is beautiful and that is why it hurts so much to not be able to see it right now.
You don’t want to spend your days holding your chest, counting your breaths, hoping you don’t die from a panic attack.
You don’t want to cower away in silence and have friends think you’re annoyed at them when really you’re just so scared of telling them how hurt you are.
You don’t want to look out on a stunning skyline, and see nothing but the distance of the stars.
What I will tell you is this: The struggle is worth it, not for the benefit of the world, but for the change in yourself.
Growing up, we try to find the purpose in life, usually believing that our purpose is solely defined by, ironically, the end of it. We’re so afraid of who we will be by the end of our life that we forget we have a long life to enjoy first.
One of my favourite poets, Charles Baudelaire, wrote that “Nothing can be done except little by little,” and that is the way life, I believe, should be lived. Here is where we find the answer to the-all-intimidating “Why?”
The question “How can I keep living like this?” comes when we are so overwhelmed by the repetitive nature of our emotions that we look to the future and wonder how we will survive such time. And again, the question is not “How?” but rather “Why should I?”
Because life is not in pursuit of the end. You do not travel the world, focusing on the last flight home. So when you are in pain, thinking that all your progress is worthless, it is time to rethink how you view your life.
It is not one constant life from birth till death; it is a consecutive string of sub-lives. Our life from infancy to adolescence cannot be measured the same way as our life from adolescence to adulthood and so on. We are different people at different times, and that is why we must keep going to discover who we are still to become.
Think about the times you cringe at old Facebook statuses from 2009 or remember the attachment you had to someone who never deserved it. In hindsight, it doesn’t feel like something you would do; it doesn’t feel like you.
That’s because it isn’t. It is a version of who you are—or at least who you were—that grew and created your present self. In this is the excitement of life giving new impetus to the feeling of hope. Because then the question of “How can I keep living like this?” becomes somewhat blurred and irrelevant.
Yes, it feels like your emotions are repetitive.
Yes, it feels like every time you start to feel better, you fall apart.
Yes, it feels like life is too long and too exhausting to ever possibly survive the full stretch.
But you forget that you are more than your present self. You are strong, you were strong before, and you will be stronger still. You will feel more pain and more love. You will feel more confusion and more clarity. You will likely ask the same question again, but if I have done my job, you will hopefully remember that you are ever evolving, and you will always find new strength at every corner. Till one day, you reach the end and you look back and realize it really was all about the in-between. You realize that heartbreaks and moments of great uncertainty were just as exceptional as those of notable joy.
And when you do, be sure to be proud of yourself and to know that you did your best at all times and nothing will change that.