Elden Maynard, Episodes 154 & 155

2018 was the worst year of my life. Qualified with the objective reality that in the hundreds of years of modern human history, or even of the current population, this year would be a welcome high watermark. I lived, I traveled, I experienced — but I suffered greatly (by developed-western-country standards).

I came back to America with thousands of dollars in savings, and a seemingly inexhaustible drive to start my new life. It was all taken away from me the moment I stepped off the plane (a story for another time). But I let it be taken from me. I let myself be weak. I submitted to the cruelty of circumstance and kneeled before the crushing weight of doubt and loss. I grieved for a life I could have had, but in reality was never anything more than an unearned expectation.

That suffering put me in touch with the elemental version of myself for the first time, and reflected back at me the ridiculously uninspired and directionless life I had lived for 24 years. The best thing I did in 2018 was to stop making excuses and to start writing. To start listening to myself for the first time in my life, and to go on a long walk to find who I am.

I never owned who I was as a person. I never wrote my story. I allowed my life to be written for me by the cruel editor under whom we all labor. I hid the things that gave me strength. I shunned the person I was in favor of something else. We are steel, forged in a crucible of suffering, hammered by repeated swings of oppression’s hammer, and ground to a fine edge by experience.

To keep that weapon sheathed, to hide it from the world is the greatest disservice. You were put here to cleave the world in two, to destroy all that stands in your way. You must be willing to pick up that sword, and go to war with yourself. You must conquer the voice inside your head that tells you what you are, so you can show the world who you can be.


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