On Being Awesome

(This isn’t necessarily about writing and publishing, but I think it’s relevant on this blog, and to anyone going after their dreams.)

The word “awesome” is something that has been thrown around haphazardly but consistently for the last fifty years or so. That new band you discovered? Awesome. That sandwich you had for lunch? Awesome. That dog that barks “BATMAN”?  Awesome. The feeling you got while watching a meteor shower streaking across the heavens? Actually, that’s kind of what awesome was originally reserved for.

I’m not going to even touch the subject of whether or not we’ve watered down the original meaning of the word, or whether or not we throw it around too frequently, because it is what it is. And guess what? Awesome people don’t bitch about dumb shit.

And no, I’m not saying the evolution of language isn’t important (I think it’s fascinating, actually!). What I’m saying is, we pick our battles. We pick our concerns. And the only thing an awesome person is really concerned about is… well, not much. Have you ever met someone who was worried and anxious and a little neurotic and thought, “Man, that guy/gal is awesome“? That is because awesomeness, like the word “awesome,” is fluid. And that is something you don’t often hear about in the ubiquitous “how to be awesome” blog posts all over the interwebs these days. But this is the truth:

You will never be or feel like you are awesome all the time,  and you will never meet someone else who is or feels like they are awesome all the time.

You will meet plently of people, or hear about plenty of people, or maybe even be one of those people who you think are pretty fucking awesome. And maybe those people even feel pretty fucking awesome most of the time. But you know what? They will have their less-than-awesome days. They might face the world with their same “yes I’m awesome” demeanor, but on those less-than-awesome days they will feel pretty fucking shitty.

But that’s okay. We all have those days–sometimes weeks–maybe even months or years. No one expects you to be awesome all the time. And besides, without the lows we wouldn’t know what high is. Those terrifying slips that send us back down the mountain serve to train us–they give us the strength to climb to those soaring heights we enjoy so much.

And when we find ourselves slipping, we’re reminded that to stay at the top–that place where we feel and we know how awesome we really are–we need more than just strength and determination. We need balance, and faith, and we need to not fear slipping again.

Because you will slip, again and again. There is just no avoiding it. But when you stop fearing it, you’ll find you can catch yourself quicker, before you fall too far from the top of your mountain. When you begin to wobble, you’ll learn to look for things to ground you instead of turning around to stare down the dizzying drop.

When you stop being afraid of falling, then you will have mastered one of the biggest tricks to longer, more thrilling, more awesome stretches at the top.

I’m working on that. How about you?

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