Life – Are You The Passenger Or The Driver?

People often say that life is what you make of it. And maybe that statement is true, to a certain extent, but is it fair? Under the same pressures, some people crumble, and some people grow. Is that anything to do with decisions they make? Or is it just luck? Can we control how we handle bad news, or does it control us? The answer, I guess, is all of the above. Is the strong person the one who never sheds a tear, or the one who can’t stop crying? Is the brave person the one who is fearless, or the one who is terrified yet carries on anyway? Again, all of the above. Can you find positivity in negative situations? Sometimes. If you can’t, are you any less of a person? No. And if you do find positivity in unexpected places, does it actually change the situation you’re in? No. Does it suppress other emotions that should probably be let out? Does it make us feel better? Do we do it for us, or for the people around us? Again, all of the above.

My point is that life may be what we make of it, but we are also what it makes of us. We have some control over how we live and how we feel, but at the same time we are powerless. There is a bigger picture, and we are mere brush strokes – individual and chaotic and varied but ineffective when alone – we try to take on the world individually because we think we can control where life takes us, and how we end up. And maybe we can change our course by a few degrees with the right people and the right opportunities and the right attitude (Even a life time of hard work relies on a little bit of luck) A good person can work their whole lives to get what they want, and a bad person can have it laid down at their feet with no effort at all. Not only does life shape us, but it does not play fair.

So I hate when I have a bad day, and I let my smile slip, and I let some of my true feelings show, and people tell me that my life will be what I make of it, as though I have chosen to let it beat me. Because sometimes less favourable emotions are not a sign that someone has given up, or that they don’t want to try; sometimes it just means that they have been trying for too long, and can no longer maintain a false smile with their forced hope. Sometimes you have to face the reality of a situation, and sometimes that reality sucks, no matter how positively you think on it. Clinging to the positives does not remove the negatives. Positive people are no stronger, or weaker, than those who don’t know how to carry on. They are often just as desperate, and need just as much support. And we don’t acknowledge that.

I haven’t posted for a few days because a lot has changed. For starters, I can walk. Not as far or as fast as everyone else, but much further and much faster than last week when I couldn’t even get out of the bed. It felt weird at first, suddenly having legs that could hold me up, suddenly having a body that could produce enough energy to sustain such an action. It now feels weird to imagine the situation that I was in. Walking around the shops the other day was further than the total distance I had walked in the few weeks before. Yes, I got tired a lot faster than I used to, and I certainly won’t be running any marathons soon, but it feels so great to be able to walk around again that I have started wandering around the house every now and then for no reason other than the fact that I now can.

The night that I left hospital I was so happy to be home and so terrified to go to sleep that I stayed up until the early hours of the morning listening to music and podcasts. This seems to have been the death of any hopes of the continuation of a normal sleeping pattern. My body-clock is officially broken. It wants me to sleep all day and stay up all night.  I woke up at 11:30pm last night, and laid in bed staring at the ceiling until 4:30. Eventually I got bored and ventured downstairs to eat most of the food in our house, and at 6:30, my body finally remembered how to sleep again. In the time that I sat in the dark eating biscuits and trying not to cry with tiredness, my brain managed to persuade itself that I have completely failed all of my exams and will never be going to university (which would probably be a relief to my parents, as I think we are going to have to win the lottery to be able to afford everything I will need).

I get my exam results on Thursday and even though I was in hospital for some of my exams (and should therefore be given my predicted grades) I am still terrified that I won’t be going to university in September. And depending on what I make of that situation (should it arise), it will be a failure, or the start of my success. But that will only change the outcome of those exam results in my mind. In reality, it is what it is. Life makes itself, we just like to think that we call the shots. The idea of being as out of control as we are terrifies us, so maybe that’s why we tell ourselves things like “life is what you make of it.”

Then again, who knows? In life are we the drivers or the passengers? And does it matter anyway?

Step 14 to getting out of a rut in life (it’s not really a step but… anyway) 

The cruellest bully you will ever meet is your own mind. It is also your harshest critic. It will hurt you more than anyone else every can (although it may use their words/ actions as ammunition). It can make you believe things about yourself that aren’t true. It might make you feel trapped, it might make you feel like a freak. It will pick up on tiny words and twist entire sentences until they convey a message entirely different to the one they were intended to pass on. It might tell you that you’re a failure, it might make you feel like the world is against you, and that you’ll never be ‘normal’ (whatever that is). And you’ll believe it every time, because it is part of you, and it knows you. But a lot of the time it is wrong, and we just get caught up on the roller coaster of its thoughts. Once we’re on that roller coaster, we can’t get off. People tell us that our lives are whatever we make of them, yet we don’t know how to stop the ride that we’re on. No matter how hard we try to rule our thoughts, a lot of the time they end up ruling us. And if/ when that happens, it doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. And it won’t last forever – no matter how scary the ride gets, it will end, and you will move on out of the rut that you are stuck in.

“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts” Allan Lokos

(Even though I can’t actually play baseball (my body says ‘no’) I managed to persuade my mum to buy a baseball bat. Maybe now my family will be able to hit some of the curveballs that life keeps throwing our way? And if that fails, at least we can play some baseball on holiday next week!)


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