Project Life 365 – Day 44 – Steps

Break it down to its most basic, and life is just a series of steps.

From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are moving, nudged along whether we like it or not with every second that ticks by on the clock.

Some people fight it, wasting their lives trying to cling to all of the things that inevitably move away from them. Others rush foolishly forward, without even considering the consequences.

The trick is to find the balance and appreciate the journey.

Sometimes, it’s just hard to stay focused.

Life is full of hardships, obstacles, frustrations. We move forward, fall back, stumble. We make dumb choices, start down dangerous paths that take us farther and farther away from our goals and dreams. We backtrack. We burn bridges, and mend others. We find ourselves moving in directions we swore we’d never go.

Sometimes we walk so far so fast we hardly remember where we came from. Sometimes we waste a whole lot of time and energy spinning in circles and making ourselves sick. Sometimes we get trampled and suffocated by the crowd. And other times we have to face our deepest fears and forge a path alone.

The thing I’ve learned about life is that we all have a destination. What we don’t have is a roadmap to get there.

And that’s really the point of it all isn’t it? The journey. The choices we make.

I learned the hard way (the very, VERY hard way) what happens when you get lost. I got so lost, so far off track, that I honestly believed the only option left was to give up. Funny thing about that depth of darkness though…even the tiniest pinpoint of light, even the faintest glimmer of hope is enough to turn around. All you need is one tiny thread to hold onto to begin pulling yourself up out of the abyss.

See, the Universe will always give you the signs you need to keep moving in the right direction. Of course it does! We are all here on this earth to fulfill our own personal potentional, to be the absolute best that we can be. Sure, we’re dealt a certain set of circumstances, and some of us have a much more difficult hand to play. But we all have issues. Every single one of us.

Truth is, we’re all “broken” in one way or another.

Maybe we can’t read as well as someone else. Maybe we’re genetically predisposed to obesity or cancer. Maybe we’re born without something, or with something extra. Maybe we can’t hear or can’t see color or can’t see at all. Maybe we had a shitty childhood or suffered an abusive relationship. Maybe we never had enough to eat. Maybe we always got everything we ever wanted, but never learned how to value anything at all.

The unfortunate thing is that too many of us have bought into this idea that our circumstances are enough to hold us back. We’ve begun to believe that being broken can beat us.

Truth is, the only thing that can beat you is you.

Truth is, we all have a destination. We all have a purpose. We all have a very unique reason for being put here on this earth.

No one can ever live like you. No one can ever be you or take your place. Your potential, your absolute best, your soul is yours and yours alone. So what an unimaginable waste to throw it away. What a waste to give up, to give in, to say “I know I could probably do better, but I’m just so tired.”

Bullshit.

We all get tired. We all get to a point where we feel weighed down by the burdens in our lives. We all sometimes feel like we can’t possibly go on.

And that is the moment when you will take the most important step in your life. That is the moment when you make a choice.

So, take a moment and look around. Appreciate this extraordinary moment you’re living right now. Appreciate the blessings, and the hardships too, for they have taught you so very much. I promise, the Universe will give you a sign, a nudge in the right direction. But it’s up to you to follow it.

Be still.

Listen.

Now, take the next step, and keep going…

PL365Day44stepswm

365 Project – Day 195 – Don’t Stop Believin’…

From January of 1999 to June of 2007, millions of people were glued to their televisions, making David Chase’s HBO drama The Sopranos one of the greatest and most financially successful television series of all time. I wasn’t one of those millions though. When The Sopranos debuted, I was just a college freshman, and my TV time was limited by the lack of cable or satellite in the dorms. If I headed to the Brickyard or the TV lounge, the choices were usually whatever sporting event happened to be on, or WWE wrestling.

By the time I was a junior, The Sopranos had already become a roaring success, and one of my English professors, Dr. Sluberski, encouraged his students to watch it, not only because it was a great show, but because one of our fellow students had recently been cast as Jackie Aprile Jr. That’s right kids, I went to school with Jason Cerbone. I even took a Philosophy 101 class with him my freshman year–sat right next to a guy who had appeared in the music video for the song “Luka” by Suzanne Vega and would later go on to be listed as one of People Magazine’s Top 25 Sexiest Men Alive after his stint on The Sopranos. He was nice enough from what I remember–quiet, soft spoken, and completely baffled by the musings of guys like Descartes, Plato, Kant, Hume and Nietzsche.

But even then, I didn’t give The Sopranos much thought. It wasn’t until I started dating Steven and caught bits and pieces of a few episodes while he and Foerth were watching them that I really developed any interest in the show. After years of saying we would like to go back and watch the entire series from beginning to end, I bought the DVD box set for Steven for Father’s Day this year and we finally got to see what all the fuss was really about.

Had the series ended up being just another straight forward mafia show, I probably wouldn’t have made it to the end. There are plenty of shows and movies out there already that offer little more than gratuitous violence at the hands of characters who speak lines of little substance with thick New York accents. The Sopranos  is something else entirely.

Having just finished the series in its entirety, it is easy to see what captured the attention and the accolades of so many viewers. Sure, the show revolves around an Italian-American mobster living in New Jersey but, as a whole, this brilliantly written television drama explores issues faced by individuals and families the world over. Characters in the series struggle with family relationships, drug and alcohol addictions, honesty, fidelity, betrayal, loss, grief, insecurity, lonliness, jealousy, hypocrisy, compassion, empathy, power, self-control, arrogance…the list goes on and on. It is this universal appeal, this brutally honest and straight forward depiction of the struggles we humans face as we try to come to terms with the discrepancy between appearances and reality that made The Sopranos one of the most acclaimed series on television.

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to The Sopranos. If, like me, you just never got around to watching The Sopranos for whatever reason, I encourage you to give it a go and see what you think. You just might be surprised at how quickly it pulls you in.