Not every source of wisdom is all-knowing; as I like to say (in what’s becoming my favorite, most zen-like quote) “Everyone’s Mileage Varies.” It’s a lesson I learned from my mentor when I was a child: your job is to seek out truth, and truth is what resonates with that which is most meaningful to you.
I like to find quotes from people whose truths resonate with mine, and one of those philosophers whom I quote most often is Dag Hammarskjold. Today, I have been thinking a lot about one of his quotes regarding the “…point of no return.” That moment of choice where, as he says, everything you have staked will be lost if you look back. The thing is, I can’t quite get myself to believe it.
I’m making some choices, right here, right now, that will have a tremendous effect on the rest of my life, and which will ripple outward, touching everything I do and everyone I know. I almost said that the choices I’m making will be irrevocable — but then I paused, because I just don’t believe it. This is not completely all-encompassing — nothing ever is — but the only thing in this world that is irrevocable is when we pass on from this life to whatever comes next. If you’re alive, and breathing, and choosing, and deciding, and acting upon those choices… then nothing is irrevocable. There IS no point of no return.
There may be harsh lessons. There may be big mistakes. There may be terrible trials. But nothing ever really ends until you decide it has, and the purpose of those things which we don’t want is to help us to find out the things that we truly do want more than anything else. And every moment you are alive is another chance to choose, another opportunity to do better, another moment to reshape your destiny. Every moment.
That is what life truly is: it’s not about being perfect, or comparing yourself to anyone else — it’s about learning, growth, and trying to be better today than you were the day before. That’s a cause for peace, for joy, for optimism, and for strength. So set aside the worry, and weakness, and fear. The moment isn’t lost. Just try to do better today than you did yesterday, and you’ll know what your truths are. That’s it, and that’s all. I believe in you.