By Dominick Jean | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @Domino_Jean
Looking out on the ocean always forces me into a state of melancholy. Not sad, merely thoughtful. I've made a lot of decisions while looking out over the waters of oceans, rivers or lakes. Good decisions, bad decisions, regretful decisions, joyful decisions, etc. The list goes on.
This particular time, I made no decision. I merely faced for the first time that wide expanse of blue water called the Gulf of St. Vincent and the Indian Ocean.
Instead, I thought about the word "decision." It has a sharpness to it that seems to indicate something clear cut, something simple and easy. And maybe our decisions are simple, but they're never easy.
Years later we are filled with regret. For chances we didn't take, for weaknesses we indulged and for people we failed.
We're also filled with laughter for the friends we made along the way, the songs we sang too loudly and the late night talks.
Good and bad, they remind me of Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" when he said,
"Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Maybe like that story of Ulysses we made bad decisions, we failed, but like him, WE DID SOMETHING. We made choices, for good or ill. And maybe it's just me, but I believe that every choice and decision will eventually work out for good. Maybe not the good we intended or even wanted, but it will certainly be good in the end.
Maybe that's just the nature of MY hope, but I digress.
Some people will never live. They shall walk the world breathing, but their eyes will be void of faith, love, sadness (yes, even sadness can be beautiful), laughter and all the gorgeous things that make life worth living.
I'm guilty of it sometimes, of forgetting that. I linger on the past, reflecting, too afraid of receiving another psychological bloody nose from those I cared about.
But life goes on each day.
You still have to laugh, you still have to cry, and you certainly still have to sing at the top of young lungs when you're in the car.
So laugh, cry, sing. Be sad, be happy, but DO something. Live fully.
G.K. Chesterton wrote once in his book "Orthodoxy," about the nature of courage and it's his words I would like to end with on just what kind of mentality we need to live fully.
" A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine."
So live furiously indifferent, drink wine, and sing loudly. Show the world you have the desire for life and all it's decisions.
And here's another pep talk, just in case you needed one.
By Dominick Jean
It sounds so simple to travel, to cross the globe, to tramp across new lands and meet total strangers. But I don't think it really hit me until I woke up early this last week for a run. The sun was just peeking out over the Adelaide sky. The sun yawned above the sleeping city, half a world from my true home.
It was me and a few of those dreadful "morning people" out on the streets. I knew no one, didn't really know where I was going and... I couldn't care less.
I was content and untroubled. It's not that I didn't and don't have concerns or plans while I'm here in Australia, but I've already done the crazy thing. I'm already here.
In stepping foot in Australia, I placed myself beyond worry into my very own adventure. Putting aside jokes about Australia remote location and how almost everything here can kill you, it felt very much like I had stepped off the edge of the world. I seemed to have entered that mysterious territory that ancient maps only labelled with "Here there be monsters."
But what do you find when you step off the edge of the map? Wonder. Just imagine the experience of the explorers Marco Polo, Amerigo Vespucci or Vasco da Gama when they sailed into lands and realms where no European had yet been.
And while travel is certainly simpler now, that sense of wonder is so vital. Every day is a wonder, with the possibility of tantalizing new sights and people. So I'm not going to worry. I'm going to trust that Divine Providence which has brought me this far to take me a little further.
In the mean time, all I can do is live. Live fully, sing loudly, travel far and fill every second with the wonder of a child. Being content and untroubled doesn't mean being complacent.
I'm content. I'm happy with myself and who I am right now as I travel. I'm alone, but never lonely. How could I be when I have the whole wide world to fall in love with? I'm untroubled because I've left my burdens and responsibilities behind in the states.
I'm here to see beautiful churches, have adventures, taste sweet wine and love life with a fierce desire.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury
P.S.- I will also be travelling to New Zealand soon, so be prepared for nerdy moments about the places where they filmed Lord of the Rings.