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“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”
| Ayn Rand |

It is tempting to think that your life is carved from that one big moment or phase of conditioning. For a long time, I pointed to this one memory from my childhood. It goes something like this:

I am walking through town with my parents and I see a low wall. I, being childish, want to walk along the top of the wall but the idea is met with outright consternation from my parents. I insist and they resist. The compromise that is met is by me walking on the top but only with hands held on both sides, a parent per grip.

I remember that moment, I have no idea why, and understood it as a frame-creator for a very long time. It framed my ongoing sense of adventure as limited. It framed my sense of over-reliance. It framed oh so much of how to live my life.

But in truth, it didn’t frame a single thing. I did. There isn’t a moment in life where a fire can be extinguished. A moment can only tip the balance between flame or ember and only you have control as to what that end result is. We can pretend all we like that it’s down to someone else, but it never really is.

It’s been tempting to point to other chapters in my life and state them as the reason why I am ‘not-quite’. I can set those memories in stone, solidified lava from a moment of disruption, evolution and chaos, and quote them as immutable fact. But that would do me no good, reify something that doesn’t serve me, and that extinguishes little lights of passion that are connected in ways that I just can’t see. To point to those moments and draw a straight and concrete line between cause and effect would stop me from moving, growing, living. Have I got past them? No, probably not, I may never. But I will not be overly defined by them. And I will willingly do battle with the ‘not-yet’ every day.

There is only one person who can determine what you deserve. It’s the only person who can answer if you have integrity and passion. It’s the only person who knows your dreams and desires and the path you tread. The only person who has the power to choose who shares those flames with you, who fans them and to get rid of those who dampen them. There is only one person who holds you back from who/ what and where you desire your life to be. And that power is never lost in a single moment of life, but by the drip, drip, drip of fear. May it never let you wash away into the ‘not-at-all’.

May your light always burn bright. May the hero in you always have a chance to shine as those around you step back to let your passion fire up, as they bask in the glow. May you only be surrounded by the bright light of other heroes.

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