As published on Thought Catalog on November 5, 2013.
A close friend of mine who I often go to for advice about… well, almost anything is always quick to respond with ‘Well, you know what they say.. (insert cliché or overused quote here).’ It is something that has become sort of a running conversation between the both of us over time whenever we question what we are doing with our lives. More recently, I have come to find that ‘they’ usually know what they’re talking about.
These are usually short sentences that are anonymous and/or thrown around pretty regularly to describe situations that we experience through our lifetimes either as excuses or reasons for the way that things happen the way that they do. Over the past couple of weeks I have learned more about myself through watching others than I ever thought could be possible. With a terrible tragedy affecting people that I love as much as my own family, reuniting with old friends and visiting a new country – I have come to realize how fast life really does move.
They say: Fortune favors the bold.
This is a Latin proverb that I personally wish I could take into consideration more times than not.
Recently, my thoughts and my actions just don’t line up as much as I would like them to. In my head I could be as confident as anyone and know exactly what I want and how I could (potentially) get it. But that would require me to act and to put myself out there and to fully commit to something that I desire and sometimes – it’s just easier not to.
There are so many times when I want to kick myself for not doing or saying what I want to because I am either scared, nervous or hesitant. And always looking back – I know that if I would have had the guts to do what I wanted to in that moment.. I wouldn’t be stuck with the regret of never having attempted these things or always wondering what would have happened if I would have just taken that extra step out of my comfort zone.
I am not a confrontational nor an over emotional kind of person. Do I wish that sometimes I could just tell people how I feel or what I want without fearing any repercussions or rejections? Of course. But do I? Rarely, if ever. Basically – I’ll never know if I never try.
They say: Hindsight is 20/20.
This is the ultimate what if of all sayings. And it is so exceptionally true. Looking back at things that have happened, there will always be times where I think that if I did one thing different or if I would have said something different that everything would have changed. Similar to the butterfly effect (such an underrated movie, by the way).
You can always look back with confidence and think ‘Well, duh, of course that would be the outcome.’ But in the moment and at the time – there is no way of knowing how a single action or string of words can affect something or someone in your life. It’s an amazing and frustrating phenomena. The past seems so clear and leaves no doubt.
They say: Don’t leave fun for fun.
Ok, maybe THEY don’t say this. But my mom always does. She used this as a rule when we were growing up before the acronym FOMO existed. Basically it means that if you are having fun doing something, enjoying the people you are with and the moment that you are in – then it is very rarely advantageous for you to up and leave for another offer of ‘fun’ – whatever that may be and no matter how much better it may sound.
They say: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I’ve always had doubts about this saying but am hopeful in the fact that I have found some truth in it. I have come to fully recognize and respect the amazing people that I have met throughout my life and although I cannot be with everyone that I love all of the time – being without them for any period of time makes me especially thankful for any time that I do get to spend with them.
This Passenger song is a pretty accurate representation of how much more you appreciate people and things when you don’t have them anymore.
They say: Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different..
Mr. C.S. Lewis got this one right. Whether it be a small child growing up, a relationship evolving, a friendship dissolving or opinions changing. Sometimes there aren’t turning points where you can pinpoint a specific part of time when things became different from what you once knew.
Whenever someone asks me where I think I’ll be in 5 years – I tend to look back to where I was 5 years ago compared to where I am now. And answering honestly, I really have no idea where I’ll be in 5 years. Of course I have goals and dreams and aspirations. But as to the question of where I’ll be living, who I’ll be with, what I’ll be doing – it’s absolutely impossible for me to say. Every day is a learning experience where, whether I realize it or not, I grow and change… hopefully always for the better.
Of course a lot of clichés and quotes can contradict themselves – if you think about it hard enough, there is always one that will disprove the argument for another. I think it’s one of those things makes people so drawn to them. They are relatable and pliable to the changing situations and emotions of humankind.