“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.“
– The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
I am not Frodo–I had not been handed a great and terrible burden. I do not live on the edge of the outbreak of World War III. But the words of Gandalf still mean something to me, and probably most everyone reading this. All we can do is decide what to do with the time given to us.
Lately I’ve felt I’ve hit a dead end in my life–I’m not sure where to go from here in my schooling, my writing, my hopes and dreams–really, where I should live and what career I should pursue, and everything niggling worry of the sort that plague twenty-somethings who try to figure out their life. And I always think, “If only my life were like this, then I would do this.” But it’s a waste of time thinking of it like that. The way my life is right now, that’s what I have to work with.
I feel guilty, because I have been blessed beyond what millions of people throughout history could every have dreamed. Seriously, who in Ancient Greece could have imagined a country like Canada, with a startling lack of warfare, relatively little violence, unprecedented opportunity for women, stupendous riches and time-saving technologies… I could go on. I have all this, and yet feel helpless in the face of the future. Why should I worry about pursuing my dreams at all? Who could ask for a better set of opportunities? Again, Frodo had a right to complain, but I don’t.
The trick is taking that deep breath, taking that first step. Closing your eyes to paralyzing fear, and just doing something. Not letting the frustration of dead ends stop you from trying a new direction.
Ask me again at the end of 2013, if I’ve followed my own advice.
What are your hopes for 2013?