Don’t Be A Coward. Live Your Life.

Flickr / Derrick Tyson
Flickr / Derrick Tyson

I used to think there was virtue in ambition, but then, there’s a sort of weathering the years allow and you can’t notice until you stop and look at it. Things once firm lose footing, and the sharp edge of vice and virtue begins to soften. You wake up some morning and realize it’s not ambition, but its direction, that plots the steps ahead. And you’ve forgotten which way is up.

But it’s not all morose and melancholy. There is joy. There is light. There is warmth. Only no one trusts a happy man, all the less a man who doesn’t know why he is happy. Misery is a much easier thing to pinpoint. More lasting, too.

So you hide yourself in riddles, in the degrees of separation between screen and soul. There’s anonymity, name at the top or not. It’s a kind of cowardice, sure, but a mild one. Much easier to swallow if it’s lukewarm. No sense in burning your tongue.

But it’s there all the same, this whisper of a spark. You find yourself gathering kindling, readying for the blaze to come. You’ll douse it in gasoline and watch the flames rise and feel the heat on your face and remember you’re alive. Yet there is mystery in the light and you can’t help but yearn for the simplicity of the dark.

It’s those moments where you can’t decide if this is the easiest or the hardest thing in the world, or if that actually matters, that really stick, and you feel yourself sliding toward the comfort of letting ambivalence wash over you again, of never making the decision. People live their whole lives on the firmness of that tension. Nobody demands courage anymore, so why bother?

Because it does bother you. Because you can’t live in the shadows once you’ve tasted the light. Because there is virtue in ambition, pointed in the proper direction. So you re-sharpen the edges and look into the flame and don’t just remember but know.

This life ain’t gonna live itself. TC mark

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