At some point, everyone will reach some part of their life that feels like an uphill struggle. Against the wind. Carrying a rucksack full of rocks.
When you’re still on the cusp of it, it can feel somewhat romantic. It’s a special kind of thrill. That’s something almost attractive in the thought of fighting for a just cause, of struggling to get what you want, of feeling like you’ve really earned your goal.
You think of yourself fighting that fight, that proud end in mind, and – when you imagine yourself really pushing yourself to the very edge to achieve – it can feel like you can take on the world. That no matter what gets thrown at you, you’re going to brush it off and keep going, revelling in the adversity, knowing that you’re doing the right thing in face of it all.
But it doesn’t feel like that when you’re actually doing it.
That heroic ideal you have in your head is nothing more than that. An ideal.
It’s a fairytale that you tell yourself to inspire yourself into the action you need to take. And sometimes you need to believe it, at the start.
When you do, you expect that every setback will give you a surge of righteous energy that will only reinforce the passion burning in you at the beginning. You believe that everything that tries to knock you back will fuel you over the final push and, in a blaze of glory, you’ll solve all the problems you set out to tackle.
Just like they do in the stories!
And right the beginning, you need to believe that. There’s no starting this fight without that motivation, without that drive, at the core of it.
Except that what you imagine when you start is almost never how your story pans out. That’s simply not how life works.
Usually, those setbacks don’t energise you. They weigh you down. They climb on top of you. They add to the weight of those rocks in your backpack, except they’re not just heavy, they’re actively trying to trip you up and drag you back to the start. To bury you in the desert sand that you’ve spent so long slogging through.
You’re exhausted. Sometimes, you wonder why you ever chose this difficult path, you start to lose sight of all the good you wanted to do.
Then, one day, you look back on how far you’ve come.
That moment you stop, you don’t think you’ve done that much. You’re starting to feel the futility of it all. You think you’re probably better off just stopping. Your miserable efforts don’t matter. You can’t make any real change.
You only look back because you don’t want to keep looking forward any more.
But that look back makes all the difference in the world. You realise just how much you really have done. You see the changes you’ve already made. You see your progress stretching out behind you. You think about that you back at the beginning that was so devoted to this cause, and that you is so far away now. Because the you who you are now is a million miles closer to your goal.
And you look back at the finish line and you see that you’re basically done. You were just so caught up in the pain that you didn’t realise it.
You’re practically there. You’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve, you just didn’t notice it had come so close.
Usually, you won’t ever realise how strong you are until you get out of your struggle and suddenly it hits you that you made it.
You don’t realise that you’re a fighter until the fight is over – and you see that you’re the one still standing.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.