Keep Calm and Carry On

Kate Koenig, Arts Editor

What’s important in life? How can we find what’s best for us—how can we make the best decisions? These are worries that are substratal to our entire lives (or at least they are for me, does that make me an anxious person?). I think we all know by now that life is tough, but no one seems to want to accept that.

I’m someone who was raised with a lot of emphasis on religion, and I feel as though that has provided personal impetus for me to discover the truth, as I recognize the influence to be one that emphasizes the existence of truth. I’ve never been one to approach anything lackadaisically, which is in one way a huge burden and, in other ways—combined with my natural impulsiveness—is a recipe for learning severe lessons in rather severe ways. I learn best from being burned, so to speak.

So we’re on a path towards avoiding that burn, facing life like a sort of chess game, trying to predict what will happen next in order to have every event have the most auspicious outcome. This applies especially to issues like relationships, applying to grad school, choosing your major or career path, etc. And of that list, relationships are really the ones that have the potential of causing that third degree blistering yellow injury.

And how! Brings us to the topic of that ol’ intuition of ours. That little bastard has been beatin’ around the bush for ages now and playing games with ol’ Mr. Conscious Reasoning. How can we trust our intuition? It seems as though even if you find yourself capable of directly tuning into your gut, it doesn’t necessarily keep us from injury. I’ve dealt with so much doubt in relationships; sometimes you tell yourself to keep going because things may turn out better than you expect, other times you make excuses for people, other times you pick out the person’s good qualities and use them as evidence as to why you should stick with it. What to do, what to do? I have enough anxiety in my life as it is, and since most of it is self-created, I really don’t need outside contributions. (Can I walk around with an IV of chamomile tea?) So when suddenly you feel clean of that doubt, it can be pretty exciting. Yet somehow, following your gut in those doubt free, lack-of-warning-cry situations can sometimes lead you straight off a cliff. Have you become your own worst enemy?

No. In fact, the situation is just the opposite. That burn is exactly the medicine you need to aid you in solving those perpetual quandaries. Figuring out life is directly linked to the more experiences you’ve had, and it’s the negative ones that will benefit you far more than the positive. The best thing you can do when facing a fresh wound is to turn it on its ass, and glean the most uplifting effects from it—they’re there, and you know it. You just need to look. Like how Thomas Edison learned 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb. Or how Miles Davis said there’s no such thing as a wrong note. Okay, maybe that one was a slightly different sentiment.

When you’re making so many excuses for someone that you become aware that you’re doing so, stop. Everyone should be held to the same standard; we’ve all had our hardships and our background stories. There’s a difference between pulling through and wallowing, and we’re all capable of the former.

Try with all your might to be honest with yourself and others. There will be no progress without honesty. It’s incredible how daunting facing our mistakes can be; the human mind is an uncannily wily entity, and it’s frustratingly tricky sometimes, but if you look to uncover your true motives and to confront personal errors where they’ve been made, it can be done and you’ll be so much better for it.
You can’t please all the people all the time, and people who use insults or personal attacks as their method of disagreement are not worth your time! Paying it back will only perpetuate the cycle—take the magnanimous route, and don’t forget the value of respect. Sometimes you just need to focus on what’s best for you.

Lastly, be a little impulsive. One thing my father has taught me is to never be ashamed of how you feel. You’re going to end up causing offense and being offended some time or another, and there’s always room for giving and receiving forgiveness. It’s a fine line between being selfish and impulsive, so consideration is something to watch for, but my point is, sometimes you have to jump before looking.

Keep calm and carry on, folks. You’ll find peace yet.

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