Monday, August 22, 2016

Walking Away

 Life is tough.

Sometimes, the things in life are even tougher. Whatever it may be – whether it’s something of your creation like a novel or a painting or even a chair or something out of your control – it can be hard to deal with the stuff in your life.  Maybe it’s a person you care about, but they don’t care about you. Or maybe it’s a novel you’ve invested days and days and tears and sweat into. Only to find it’s not worth it.

A poem you wanted to turn out beautiful, only to find it’s meaningless.
A friendship you cherished, only to watch it fade away.
Relationships you treasured – gone.
Art you created – soured.

We all have these things in life; these pieces of baggage. None of us expected to pick these things up along the way. None of us wanted to. It’s a never ending struggle to put those carpetbags and suitcases of baggage down and not pick them back up again.

The process is often impossible to complete. We’ll put it down, start to walk away. Except somehow, that piece of baggage is only a few steps behind, no matter how long or how fast we move away from it. Over and over and over, we’ll glance over our shoulders and see it sitting there. Waiting. A rough-textured carpetbag with leering handles and large, ugly button-eyes.
“Pick me up,” it hisses.

And we do.
As many times as we throw it down, we pick it up again. We strive and we strive and we strive to leave it behind. It results in more tears than the creation of it did.

How do we let go?
It’s harder than the stories will tell you. Sure, that character can just waltz away into the sunset, leaving their cares behind. Sure, she can run to the mountains, build herself a snow castle and never look back. They let it go.

You know what?
That’s not how life works.
It takes a lot more time and effort.

You have to be willing to fight it, to spend hours wrestling with that piece of baggage. With yourself. Part of you doesn’t want to let that friendship die. It was a nice friendship, with memories of laughter and smiles and even good tears. You don’t want to let it go, to find a new friend. No one can replace that particular friend, not even. Not even now that they’re gone.
That story idea is wonderful. You’ve treasured it ever since it came to you as a vaguely shaped infant story, with hardly a character or plot to its name. Each day you nurtured it and taught it to grow and become larger and larger and-
Now you’ve realized… it’s not worth it. It’s not a good story: it’s cliché, the characters are real, the plot is non-existent, the setting is borrowed from a childhood memory of a television show. But you don’t want to release it, to turn your back and forget. No story can replace this one, it’s unique and it’s yours.

A constant struggle.
When the dust settles, one of two things will happen:

--- Perhaps the carpetbag will lay at your feet, handles twisted into a sneer, button-eyes staring into your soul.
“Pick me up,” it hisses.
And you do.
Your hands slip around the harsh, grating handles, and you lift. It’s heavier than before, weighted down by the struggle and the tears and the regret. But you heave it up and stagger on.

--- But what if?
“Pick me up,” it hisses.
And you walk away?
The carpetbag sits there, dust swirling in the air all around. And slowly, slowly… it fades. Fades to nothingness in your past.

No, there will never be a friendship or relationship just like the one you had. Not ever. But there will be others. You can create new friendships, you can meet new people who will love you just as those other people once had.

No, there will never be a story idea just like that one. Not ever. But there will be others. You’ll find a new story, one with brighter characters, a more wonderful plot, a more delightful setting. It will enrapture you akin to the first one. And this time you will write it well.

All it took?
Walking away.
It’s not always good, to walk away. You can hurt people, hurt yourself by doing that. Sometimes, however… sometimes it’s okay.
Sometimes it’s necessary.
And always – always – there is light on the horizon.


  1. Oh, so then we completely abandon the model for writing helpful blog posts /BUT STILL POST SOMETHING COMPLETELY AWESOME AND SUPER HELPFUL/.
    You're my hero, Aidan.
    This was the most fantastic thing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sometimes I stop being helpful and just write about things I observe. :P

      You're most certainly welcome, man.

  2. Wow that's a great post, Aiden! You have an amazing way with words. And every word means so much! Thanks for writing that uplifting piece! It was so encouraging.

  3. Replies
    1. Of course. :)
      I needed it, too, honestly.