This week we welcome back guest writer and friend of the Bear, Ruan Van Rensburg. Unknown to Ruan, I recently connected with a few people on a very similar topic he writes on in this essay.
I often find if one or more of us are having similar thoughts/experiences there are bound to be more, and I believe there is an importance in speaking/sharing these experiences so that we are not completely alone in them.
While I am aware the life you're experiencing will never be the same as that of someone else, it can help a person feel 'seen' when the experience of one braver human resonates with another.
Without further adieu, today's writings from Ruan:
Sunday Sermon by Ruan Van Rensburg
It's a quiet Sunday afternoon. I am surrounded by those closest to me, and they are in good spirits. With spring around the corner, the garden has begun to bloom. The birds whistle cheerfully whilst constructing their nests. A good book, lovely weather, and my loving dog on my lap. By all accounts life seems pretty good, right?
How is it then that around every corner all I can find is despair? Hopelessness follows wherever I go. I look down at my shirt which reads: "Never give up." If this is all there is, is it enough?
It should be. It's more than most could wish for. I am well aware of the growing habit to take pity on myself. It's a truly poor habit, and I hate myself for it.
I would often say that if the entirety of your life consists of the next session, the next set, the next rep, the next breath; make it a life worth living.
But those are the words of a stranger. One whom I’ve long since been unacquainted with.
Where is the fight, the passion, the desire? The willingness to do a hard thing, and demand more of yourself?
"You are what you do; thus, if you do nothing, you are nobody. If you once did great things, you think you are great. You coast along on dead, preserved laurels, lifeless and wasting away"
- Mark Twight
55 minutes on the WattBike. It's harder than it should be. I get exactly what I deserve. There are moments when thoughts become clear, but they are hard to pin down. That's what training is, isn't it? Inner dialogue. An opportunity to confront those parts of yourself that always seems to escape during these difficult times. An opportunity to ask the hard questions. To get to the crux of the matter. To find who you are, and to change.
I catch glimpses of a man who refuses to give in. Again I read the phrase on my shirt. I have given all my life towards one very specific thing. Every decision. Every action. All with a single unyielding intent, and a belief that going in any other direction would be a disservice to the entirety of my being. How can a man go against himself? But having 'missed the target', by a significant distance, it hasn’t done much more than create a debilitating self- doubt in my decision-making abilities. I was aiming for a bulls-eye and I didn't even hit the board. I question whether it was a path worth pursuing. Whether I was truly born for it, or just convinced myself that I was.
"Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for."
- The Old man and the sea
What then will you do on the day when you can't find the strength to put up your fists? When your appetite for the fight has forsaken you? When your stomach is full, and there is no further need for hunger?
Will you give up? Will you opt for the path of least resistance, and settle for a life in which you just get by? Or will you remain defiant and believe in this new, reborn version of yourself?
It depends on how soft you are, or allow yourself to become. It depends on whether you allow the surrounding mediocrity to drag you down with them.
If you believe that you deserve more, then you should demand more of yourself. You can do better.
"Be always restless, unsatisfied, unconforming. Whenever a habit becomes convenient, smash it! The greatest sin of all is satisfaction."
- Nikos Kazantzakis
Sunday Sermon, by Ruan Van Rensburg
Photo by Ruan, taken at Herold's Bay, 2021
Where to find Ruan
+ On the Braver blog here
+ On Medium for his writing: Rebellious Repetition
+ IG: @rebellious_repetition