I spent the last week talking to a lot of people. We talked about health problems and business deals, organization and testing limits, books read and travel taken. And then we went deep, some of us, and we talked about change. Always and forever, change, and why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what we don’t know, and what we care about. Occasionally I gave a small push that someone needed to give.
Before that, I moved house. I finished writing a book. I wanted to do everything; I wanted to do nothing. I wanted to hide, curled up in the corner of my couch with Nala perched beside me, and I wanted to go out and meet the world with arms wide open.
Someone this weekend told me that sometimes when they need inspiration or a little push to get through their day, they click over to my Facebook page, and they look at the blog links there to see if I’ve been talking about something that might resonate, that might help in some way. I don’t know how many people to do that. Maybe just the one. But that matters to me.
So I will pass on something that I believe to be true.
Life is hard. We will have troubles. We will have pain. We will have days that seem wet and dreary that make us question what we’ve done before and where we think we’re going. We will have random things happen to us that are unfair. We will suffer disappointment.
Through all of this, we chart a course, and much of that course is determined by one thing: character.
Common wisdom tells us that character is built, often through adversity of various kinds. And as the years go by, we build that character for ourselves, piece by piece. We decide the kind of person we want to be. Sometimes we have to correct; sometimes we make mistakes. We are none of us perfect, however strong our characters might be. But what is important, I think, is not so much that the mistake happened, but what we choose to do in the aftermath.
Do we seek to make amends? Do we spend time educating ourselves? Do we engage in introspection? Do we attempt to see other perspectives? Do we do our best to retain a sense of humor? Do we give up, or do we pick ourselves back up and try to go forward? Do we do what we believe to be right? Do we act with our own brand of courage?
Do we remember what we believe to be true?
Having character is not a panacea. It does not make troubles melt into thin air. It does not take away days like this one, when I feel like someone slammed my heart against a wall.
But it does provide a center, a core of self to tap into. It makes it easier to be gentle, to care for oneself when the rest of the world is busy doing its thing.
I know who I am. And that is enough.